The Polk State College (PSC) Kenneth C. Thompson Institute for Public Safety, known locally as the criminal justice training academy, was recently awarded the “Accreditation with Excellence” award by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA).
The intent of this award is to provide agencies an opportunity to be further recognized for the effective use of accreditation as a model for enhanced public safety service delivery. The award is structured for the recognition of agencies that have met the following criteria:
•Demonstrated excellence in the development and implementation of contemporary policy and procedure.
•Demonstrated excellence in the ability to use the CALEA Accreditation process as a tool for continuous organizational improvement.
•Demonstrated excellence in the collection, review and analysis of organizational data for the purpose of public safety service improvement.
•Demonstrated advocacy for CALEA Accreditation as a strategy for enhancing the professional standing of public safety.
•Demonstrated excellence in addressing the intent of CALEA standards, beyond compliance.
•Demonstrated organizational culture supportive of CALEA Accreditation.
•Accreditation assessment demonstrating standards compliance and accreditation process success.
The PSC Kenneth C. Thompson Institute for Public Safety is only one of five law enforcement training academies in the nation to earn this award. The others are: Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training; Northeast Counterdrug Training Academy; Alameda County (CA) Sheriff’s Office Regional Training Center; and the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy.
An excerpt from the award letter sent to PCSO Captain Bill Mann, director of the academy, says: “Your agency has clearly demonstrated a commitment to professionalism and CALEA Accreditation has undoubtedly become an institutionalized management model for the organization.”
The PSC Kenneth C. Thompson Instituted for Public Safety received its original Public Safety Training Academy Accreditation Program (PSTAA) from CALEA in 2007, becoming the first criminal justice training academy in the nation to earn this accreditation. The purpose of the Public Safety Training Academy Accreditation (PSTAA) program is to promote superior public safety training academy services and to recognize professional excellence. This is accomplished by establishing 182 standards derived from the best practices of professional public safety training agencies and institutions. A process is implemented to verify that the standards are met and that public recognition of professional excellence is provided.
“The Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety team holds themselves to the highest possible standards, so that they can educate and produce some of the best law enforcement officer candidates in the nation,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “The academy at Polk State College was the first training academy associated with a college or university to earn CALEA accreditation and it is one of only five academies in the United States to have earned this advanced recognition. I am very proud of the men and women who have worked so hard earn the prestigious Accreditation with Excellence designation.”
The Accreditation with Excellence Award attaches to the agency's Accreditation Award for a period of three years. Agencies must reapply for the award each time they are assessed for reaccreditation.
In addition to this accreditation, the Sheriff's Office has also earned state accreditation from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA); international accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA); detention accreditation from the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission (FCAC); national accreditation from the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing's (NIGP); National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC); National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch (NAEMD); Public Safety Communication Accreditation (PSCA); as well as the previously-mentioned Public Safety Training Academy Accreditation Program (PSTAA) from CALEA.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office was awarded an “Accreditation with Excellence” Award for its CALEA program last November.