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Taylor Mill Police Department Celebrates Special Accreditation

The Taylor Mill Police Department recently celebrated its third certificate of accreditation by the Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

"Most of the police departments in the state are accredited through the Kentucky Police Chiefs Association," said Steve Knauf, the city's longtime police chief. "Very few are also accredited through CALEA. The only ones in Kentucky are Lexington (Police) and us. I heard Covington is working towards it."

Knauf said that the state accreditation is something he is proud of, too, but the CALEA is more labor intensive, and costs more, too, so now it is a program he regularly budgets for, and the city is proud to go along with, he said.

CALEA was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of law enforcement's major executive associations. The purpose of CALEA was to establish a body of professional standards, and to develop an accreditation process to administer its initial credentialing program. Originally, the organization was developed to target what was seen as a need to enhance law enforcement as a profession, and to improve law enforcement services.

CALEA provides a process for an internal review and assessment of each agency's policies and procedures, and then adjustments wherever needed to be able to conform to a set of internationally accepted standards.

Taylor Mill received its first accreditation award in November 2010, and another in March of 2014.

"We started working on our state assessment first in 2000, so we could get that done first," said Lieutenant Ron Wilson, who works on assessments most of year. "Our philosophy has always been, We can do better, we will hold our department to the highest standards. So when we found out that CALEA was the gold standard for accreditation, we started working on it. It is a goal we set, and we have achieved."

Wilson said that the criteria for the CALEA inspection versus the state inspection covers many of the same things, only more in depth on things like procedures and policies. The CALEA assessment also covers more unusual things, such as consular notification, which is not required by the state, as well as certain documents.

"Because CALEA has new policies, we are pretty much working on it all year-round," Wilson said. "We actually work continuously on both assessments. We are very proud of both certifications. I am almost ready to retire, and we have James Mills ready to take over so we don't miss a beat."

Taylor Mill is actually one of the smallest departments to be accredited in CALEA, with 12 full-time officers. Wilson said being accredited gives them better community buy-in and reduces liability.

"CALEA is not an easy road, but we have always taken the road less traveled," said Wilson. "It is all about getting better, finding a positive challenge to help be the best you can be."

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Photo: Members of the Taylor Mill police department and city commission and State Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser celebrate the CALEA certification last month (RCN file)