Although new to the law enforcement field, universities, hospitals and other professional organizations have, for many years, undergone similar accreditation processes to prove compliance with a set of professional, nationwide standards. Accreditation serves to distinguish participating organizations as having met professional standards of conduct and service.

As in other professional organizations, those in law enforcement recognized the need to develop professional standards. Accordingly, then Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. was formed in 1979 to establish a body of standards intended to increase efficiency, effectiveness and accountability in law enforcement organizations. The Commission is a joint effort of four respected organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriff's Association, and the Police Executive Research Forum. The Commission formulated over 900 standards covering all areas of law enforcement to constitute the first edition of the Manual of Standards for Law Enforcement Agencies.

What are the Standards Addressed?

  • Role, responsibility and relationship with other agencies
  • Organization, management and administration
  • Law enforcement operations, operational support, criminal investigations and traffic enforcement
  • Prisoner transport and court security
  • Records and Property Management
  • Communications and technical services

On July 29, 1995, the University of Arkansas Police Department obtained international accreditation as a law enforcement agency through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). UAPD became the first police department in Arkansas to receive CALEA recognition for meeting their rigorous standards. CALEA standards are recognized as the highest law enforcement standards throughout the world. The UAPD strongly believes that obtaining CALEA accreditation demonstrates its commitment and dedication to excellence in the delivery of law enforcement services.

From The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas
Friday, August 11, 1995

UAPD Earns Accreditation Unique in State

Russell Ray

The Morning News

Parents worried about sending their 18-year-olds off to college at the University of Arkansas can perhaps rest easier knowing the UA Police Department is the only accredited law-enforcement agency in Arkansas. The accreditation was granted last month by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., which offers state and local law-enforcement agencies a chance to meet internationally accepted standards for law enforcement. The 21-member commission is the only law-enforcement accreditation organization in the country and is made up of members from four law-enforcement organizations: the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriffs Association and the Police Executive Research Forum. Security at college campuses has become a major concern among parents, said Lawrence Slamons, UAPD Director. The voluntary accreditation process, Slamons said, was a way to promote professionalism and instill community confidence. "It means that we meet the standards that any police department in the United States would want to meet," Slamons said. "That should give the parents an understanding of what we have to offer." The UAPD joins 375 other law-enforcement agencies nationwide, including 11 universities, that have received the recognition. Other Arkansas police departments seeking accreditation from the commission include Little Rock and Sherwood, Slamons said. To gain accreditation, the UAPD had to meet about 600 standards set by the commission, Slamons said.

The commission's accreditation team inspected UAPD operations over a four-day period in May. After conducting interviews, performing field inspections and reviewing documentation procedures and policies, the assessment team found that the UAPD adequately satisfied the commission's standards. "With accreditation comes greater accountability within the agency and a higher level of confidence that it can operate efficiently and meet community needs," Slamons said. The commission was especially impressed with the UAPD's crime-prevention programs, which include a senior citizen's volunteer program, a Razorback Patrol that provides escorts for students and Law Enforcement Explorers program for students interested in entering law enforcement.

Reprinted with permission from The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas