The Campus Police Department for Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges is proud to be accredited by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, Inc. Accreditation is "a self-initiated process by which police agencies voluntarily strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established for the profession, by the profession" (Source: MPAC). One of the campuses involved in our collaboration, Mount Holyoke, was the first campus police department in Massachusetts to be certified and accredited by the MPAC, in 2003 and 2004 respectively.
There are two programs in Massachusetts currently - certification and accreditation. Certification consists of 155 standards addressing issues of high liability . Departments who achieve this honor may continue toward accreditation. In order to accredited, departments undergo a process of reviewing processes, policies and procedures to meet 252 mandatory standards and a minimum of 80 optional standards to be eligible for accreditation on topics such as:
- Authority, Jurisdiction & Use of Force
- Recruitment, Selection, and Promotion of Personnel
- Training, Discipline, and Internal Affairs
- Patrol, Traffic Operations, and Criminal Investigation
- Victim/Witness Assistance
- Emergency Response Planning
- Records and Communications
- Collection and Preservation of Evidence
- Property and Evidence Control
When the department has made all changes necessary, a team of trained assessors from across the state visits and reviews the department's policies and procedures, tours the department's operational space, and interviews staff on the established processes. Following this on-site review and completion of any adjustments deemed necessary during the assessment, the recommendations of the assessment team are forwarded to the Accreditation Commission for final review and, if appropriate, grants certification or accreditation.
- Accreditation ensures the operational readiness of the Campus Police Department.
- Accreditation insures that the department's policies and procedures and rules and regulations are in line with modern professional standards.
- Accreditation promotes a strong emphasis on officer safety.
- Accreditation provides an ongoing, independent evaluation of the Campus Police Department.
- Accreditation improves the quality of individuals who apply for employment with our agency.
- Accreditation provides each member of the department with a sense of pride, knowing that their agency has met such high, professional standards.
Our combined department was awarded accreditation status in the fall of 2011. During our review assessors visited our department spaces on all three campuses. As of May 2012, only 40 police agencies statewide have been accredited, and 16 have been certified of the over 300 municipal, campus, transit and hospital agencies in the state.