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Police Department
What is Accreditation?
Law enforcement officials around the world recognized a serious need for a better prepared and unified approach to law enforcement for agencies and the citizens they serve. Together, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Sheriff’s Association, and Police Executive Research Forum created the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

The formation of the Commission resulted in a set of internationally accepted law enforcement standards. These standards provide a clear outline of excellence for the law enforcement profession. Receiving accreditation makes a statement to citizens, government officials and the law enforcement community that the agency meets the high standards set forth by the Commission.

The Smithfield Police Department received its initial accreditation award on March 22, 2015. This status was achieved after an intensive three-year period of self-assessment that required a thorough review of department policies, procedures, and practices. The agency performed an in-depth review of its management, administration, operations and support services in comparison to professional standards. In the event a deficiency was identified, policies and procedures were created or revised to correct the situation.

The initial assessment process concluded with a detailed inspection and critique by out of state assessors chosen by CALEA. Our assessment team was on-site October 19-22, 2014. They examined over 480 accreditation files maintained by the Department for the previous three year period for proof of compliance. They were also given a police facility tour, display of all equipment, and conducted several interviews with departmental staff and members of the public. Our agency was re-assessed October 23-26, 2017 and received our award in 2018.

CALEA requires agencies to be re-accredited every four years, as well as an annual review. The goal of this requirement is to foster continuous improvements in structure, leadership, organization, general direction, and accountability. Our agency will be re-assessed October 25-27, 2021.


Accreditation provides a win-win situation for citizens, law enforcement officers and law enforcement command personnel. The citizens win because our agency has taken the initiative to comply with a set of internationally developed standards which means they can have confidence that the agency’s management team has set forth a quality set of rules, regulations, policies and procedures which address operational readiness issues. Law enforcement officers benefit because in almost any circumstance he or she may find themselves in, they have a set of established guidelines and a methodology for solutions giving them guidance from management to make the right decision. Command personnel win because they must remain open to the needs of operational level employees and provide them with adequate guidance. Accreditation focuses on continuous improvement and forces Command personnel to stay on top of changes in law, judicial decisions and civil litigation.

If you have any questions you may contact Accreditation Manager, Melissa Southerland at (919) 934-2121.