MUPD seeks re-accreditation
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri Police Department (MUPD) is seeking re-accreditation from the Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA).
A dozen campus leaders and faculty members attended a meeting with the CALEA team Monday afternoon to discuss their opinion of the department.
Tim Stokes has been the Director of MU Parking and Transportation for six years. He said MUPD has always "enthusiastically and professionally respond to any request we've had."
Frankie Minor has been the Director of Residential Life for more than 20 years. He said the campus demographic is unique because it is mainly young adults who are on their own for the first time, but is also very diverse. He said MUPD understands their clientele, calling the department "adaptable" and "progressive" in their effort to keep upward of 60,000 people safe.
Minor also said many students fall victim to abusing drugs and alcohol and said MUPD has always been very open and cooperative with his department in those situations.
"We couldn't be as effective in our job without them," Minor said.
Missouri Students Association (MSA) President Payton Head also voiced support for MUPD. He said in his experience working with parents on new students, the knowledge that MUPD is there and active on campus is a major recruiting tool for the university and also comforts many concerned parents.
"Parents want to know their students will be safe," Head said.
Head said he would like to see better communication between MUPD and minority groups on campus. He said many young black men like himself have a fear of law enforcement and face police aggression and brutality more often than non-blacks. Head said new additions like body cameras and dash cameras have been a big improvement in both holding students and officers accountable.
"The CALEA accreditation is a process," said Assessor Jeff Pierce, the team leader in charge of MUPD's re-evaluation. "Law enforcement agencies around the country voluntarily enter a program where they agree to comply with just short of 500 standards of what is considered the best practiced management of law enforcement today."
MUPD has been a CALEA-accredited police department since 2001, and goes through a re-evaluation every three years to maintain that status. For more information on the department's accreditation history, follow the link here.
In addition to complying to the long list of CALEA standards, Pierce said the re-evaluation process can be rigorous for departments.
"CALEA has a team - which is what we're here for - that goes in to look over the operation, interact with the department employees and interact with the community that they serve," Pierce said.
Pierce, a captain for the Oklahoma City Police Department, said a CALEA accreditation is a source of pride.
"It's very prestigious," Pierce said. "It's rigorous for an agency to undertake. The commitment in time and personnel is pretty significant."
Pierce said the commitment for a small department like MUPD can be even more taxing on the agency.
Following the open forum, Pierce said MUPD has made a good first impression on him.
"All of the comments today were extremely positive, we were pretty impressed with the amount of feedback," Pierce said.
MUPD has also been accredited three times by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). IACLEA uses CALEA standards as well as campus-specific standards for police departments. MUPD was most recently accredited by IACLEA in January 2013.