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Schererville Police earn perfect score in accreditation

Updated: September 20, 2014 6:09AM



SCHERERVILLE — The Schererville Police Department not only received its Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies reaccreditation, but it did it with a perfect score.

The Gainesville, Virginia, agency found no issues with which the department needed to get in compliance, Police Chief Dave Dowling told the Town Council last week. In fact, of the 13 agencies receiving reaccreditation last month, Schererville was the only department with no issues demanding attention.

“A lot of the time, CALEA will allow a certain percentage of issues so accreditation is approved ‘with conditions,’ ’’ Dowling said. “But we knew from our onsite that we were in good shape. Still, we’re proud to have a perfect score.”

If there was anything about which CALEA showed concern, recruiting came to mind, Dowling said. But extenuating circumstances made that a non-issue as well.

“Because of budget constraints, we haven’t done any recruiting in four years,” Dowling said.

Dowling said there are five steps by which CALEA measures a department for the accreditation: enrollment, self-assessment, onsite assessment, commission review and decision, and maintaining compliance and reaccreditation. During the maintaining compliance section, the evidence room was an area in which CALEA spent a lot of time, Deputy Police Chief Dennis Zagrocki said.

“If they requested an item from the room, you’re given an amount of time to retrieve it” and show that its contents are accurate, Zagrocki said.

The department conducts annual audits; CALEA just gives a larger selection of items to audit.

Dowling lauded Commander Brian Neyhart, Detective Commander Michael Vode and Cpl. Tim Arvanitis as being “instrumental” in getting the department ready for the process.

Accreditation is a three-year process, with the onsite assessment the last step. This is the department’s second full accreditation since it undertook the process in 2007, Dowling said.

The Munster and Valparaiso Police Departments are the other CALEA-accredited departments in Northwest Indiana, and St. John recently has started the state accreditation process, which is similar to CALEA, Dowling said.



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