The McKinney Police Department could soon join pretty rare company for law enforcement.
By the end of the year, the department hopes to be nationally accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), a distinction bestowed upon less than 7 percent of agencies in the U.S.
McKinney PD is already state-accredited through the Texas Police Chiefs Association Recognition Program. Gaining the national benchmark status would further emphasize the agency’s policies and procedures are in line with law enforcement best practices.
“It’s really a total agency effort,” noted Chief Greg Conley, who took over MPD after it already began its pursuit of CALEA status. “It allows us to compare against other departments nationwide.”
Frisco’s and Plano’s police departments are local agencies with the national accreditation, and thus belong to a group of around 1,200 out of 18,000 agencies across the country, according to MPD.
The process for McKinney to join those ranks ramps up in coming weeks. CALEA has been remotely reviewing MPD’s procedures, and assessors will arrive June 5 to examine its management, operations and support – to “make sure they’re not just policies on paper but what we’re actually doing,” the chief explained.
“There’ll be quite a bit of interaction with agency personnel,” added Josel Harrison, MPD’s accreditation and reporting administrator.
McKinney PD must comply with 363 standards to gain the coveted status. Accreditation is intended to improve an agency’s community relations, strengthen accountability and reduce its liability and risk exposure, according to police.
And the community they protect will have its say. Assessors will canvas the city to ask residents, business owners and other stakeholders about their take on the department’s policing.
CALEA will also hold a public input session at 7 p.m. June 6 in Noble Hall at the McKinney Performing Arts Center, 111 N. Tennessee St. downtown.
Assessors will listen to residents’ feedback at the meeting and by phone from 3 to 5 p.m. that day (call 972-547-2875) as part of the review process. Attendees and callers get up to 10 minutes to speak on MPD’s ability to meet the standards, which can be viewed by appointment at the McKinney Public Safety Building, 2200 Taylor Burk Drive.
“It’s a way to make sure there’s nothing (going on) out there that [assessors] are not aware of,” Harrison said.
Assessors will then turn over a full report to the commission, which will decide if MPD is accreditation-worthy – a decision that would be official in November.
“We’re very confident,” Harrison said. “We’ve done what we needed to do.”