HPD renews national accreditation

KAILUA-KONA — The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies has re-accredited the Hawaii Police Department through 2024.

“CALEA accreditation validates to the community that our department is following national standards and best practices,” Chief Paul Ferreira said from the CALEA Conference in Convington, Kentucky. “It supports our commitment to the community in providing the highest quality police services.”

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The department, which was first accredited in 2012, has 483 sworn positions. As of Friday 55 of those positions were vacant with recruits expected to hit the road next month, and another recruit class to commence early next year. After its first accreditation, the department was re-accredited in 2015. Re-accreditation is now required every four years.

The purpose of CALEA is to improve the delivery of public safety services by maintaining a body of professional standards that support the administration of accreditation programs, according to CALEA’s website. It is a voluntary process and a highly prized recognition of public safety professional excellence.

“It shows we are meeting national standards just like all of the other departments in the nation,” Ferreira said, adding that Hawaii’s three other police departments (Honolulu, Maui and Kauai) are accredited by the nonprofit organization.

Assessors with the national accreditation organization gave the Hawaii Police Department a positive report with some suggestions during a mock assessment in April. In August, they returned to conduct field work and public hearings, examining policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services.

On Friday, Ferreira appeared before a five-member panel and was notified the department is in compliance. He discussed with the panel the department’s community relations efforts, the island’s unique geographical challenges, and other details about the department, but nothing specific to the department’s standards or procedures.

The panel’s five members voted unanimously in favor of re-accrediting.

Though a pretty much done deal, the commission still had to approve the re-accreditation, Ferreira said, likening it to the way committees hear bills and resolutions before such items make it before the County Council for approval. That approval was finalized Saturday during a banquet.

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Ferreira commended the department’s CALEA re-accreditation team for its work.

“This team did an outstanding job make sure all of our standards and procedures are in compliance,” he said, also noting the importance of officers and employees also buying into the program that made re-accreditation possible.

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