KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Western Michigan University Department of Public Safety has joined a small group of police agencies in the state to achieve accreditation for its policies and procedures, management, operations and support services.
The department is one of 34 out of almost 600 police agencies in the state to get the recognition, according to a news release Thursday.
Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and Portage Public Safety also hold the designation in Kalamazoo County.
Accreditation “raises the bar” of the department’s practices, according to Deputy Chief Carol Dedow, evaluating the university’s public safety agency against 107 different standards for high-risk liability actions.
That includes use of force, vehicle pursuit and search and seizure, as well as internal operations like officer and workplace training, command structure and recruitment.
WMU DPS voluntarily sought accreditation beginning in May 2019 and was visited in November 2020 by an assessment team composed of law enforcement practitioners.
They reviewed written materials, interviewed agency members and visited offices and places where compliance with the expected standards could be observed.
The commission granted full accreditation status in February 2021.
“We wanted to ensure that our department is efficiently and effectively using the best policing practices and laws,” Dedow said. “We want our officers performing how our policies direct them to: to be trained well and have the proper equipment.”
Accreditation also results in greater accountability within the agency, reduced risk and liability exposure and increased community advocacy, Dedow said.
The recognition will be valid for three years, at which point the agency will need to submit annual reports attesting to its continued compliance with the standards under which it was initially accredited.