Friday, May 23, 2014
The University of West Georgia Police Department has been awarded state certification under the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police State Certification Program. Chief of Police Tom Mackel received the certification award, which took over two years to complete, on March 20,2014, at the annual Police Awards Banquet held in the Campus Center Ballroom.
The GACP State Certification Program assists law enforcement agencies in assessing and improving their performance. In order to meet certification status, an agency must put itself through a tedious and timely process of self-examination of its policies and procedures. They must meet and complete 129 professional standards. Examples of the standards to be met are correct report writing, keeping protective barriers in police vehicles, maintaining the proper chain of command in evidence rooms and much more.
After the agency has completed its own examination, a team of GACP assessors performs an onsite evaluation to confirm that the agency has met the GACP standards. If the team of assessors find that the agency is adhering to the policies and procedures of GACP standards, then the lead assessor reports such findings to a joint executive committee, which review the assessors full report. The committee will then vote to approve the agency for the certification award.
Chief Mackel appointed Lieutenant G.E “Ned” Watson to lead the certification process in October 2011. In December 2013, three assessors from different law enforcement agencies in Georgia came to UWG for the onsite assessment. Policies and procedures were inspected and assessors even accompanied officers in the field to observe their work.
At the completion of the assessment, Major Anthony Coleman, lead assessor, announced to Dr. Kyle Marrero, UWG president, Jim Sutherland, vice president for Business and Finance, Mackel and Watson that the UWG Police Department had successfully completed the program with all policies and procedures compliant with all 129 standards in the certification program.
The UWG Police Department is only the sixth police agency within the Board of Regents and the 106th of 700 agencies in the entire state of Georgia to obtain the certification. Police agencies in the city of Carrollton, Carroll County and the city of Villa Rica each have also obtained the certification, thus putting UWG Police in the same standing with surrounding agencies.
According to Mackel, this certification is great for the university. “State certification is a visible sign for the university community of the professionalism of their police department and the seriousness with which we take our assigned duty to protect the campus and those who work and study here,” he said.