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Upton Police Department Awarded Accreditation

Pictured, l-r, are Paula Deiana, administrative assistant for the Upton Police Department, Upton Police Chief Michael Bradley holding his department's Accreditation Certificate and Upton Town Manager Blythe Robinson. Contributed photo

On January 26, the Upton Police Department was 44th in the state to receive state accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission.

Accreditation is a self-initiated evaluation process by which police departments strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established for the profession, by the profession. These carefully selected standards reflect critical areas of police management, operations, and technical support activities such as policy development, emergency response planning, training, communications, property and evidence handling, use of force, vehicular pursuit, prisoner transportation and holding facilities. The program sets standards for the law enforcement and standards for delivery of police services.

"Achieving Accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission is a very significant accomplishment and a recognition highly regarded by the law enforcement community," said Donna Taylor Mooers, the Commission's Executive Director."

Under the leadership of Chief Michael J. Bradley, Jr., the Upton Police Department was assessed in November by a team of Commission-appointed assessors. The Assessment Team found the Department to be in compliance with all applicable standards for Accreditation.

"Going through the process initially requires intense self-scrutiny, and ultimately provides a quality assurance review of the agency," said Mooers. To conduct the initial self-assessment and prepare for the on-site review of the 326 standards by the Commission, Chief Bradley served as the Department's Accreditation Manager.

The Commission offers two program awards: Certification and Accreditation, with Accreditation being the higher of the two. Accreditation has been granted for a period of three-years. Participation is voluntary.

The Commission consists of an eleven member Board of Directors. Six members are appointed by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, two by the Coalition of Accreditation Managers of Massachusetts, one by the Massachusetts Municipal Association and one by the Massachusetts Police Association. The 11th member is affliated with an academic institution and elected by the Board. According to Mooers, "the Commission's primary role is to establish and administer both the standards and the assessment process by which departments meeting accreditation standards can be publicly recognized for their achievements."

Massachusetts is one of 24 states that offer an accreditation process for its police departments.

The standards for accreditation impact officer and public safety, address high liability/risk management issues, and generally promote operational efficiency throughout the agency. The benefits are many and vary based on the state of the department when it enters the process. Generally, these changes involve policy writing, facility improvements and equipment purchases. It also provides a norm for judging performance, a basis for correcting deficiencies and means for independent evaluation. Additionally it promotes accountability for personnel, consistency in applying policies, minimizes exposure to liability and enhances the reputation of the department.

Mooers added, "Police Certification and Accreditation serve to reassure the general public that the law enforcement profession is trained, prepared and ready to handle routine calls for service including large scale emergencies. Agency preparedness begins with having a current written directive system that incorporates best practices into agency policies and operational plans.


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