March 11, 2005
Dept of Public Safety
Becomes First in State to Win Accreditation
MHC Department of Public Safety has become the first college
or university campus safety department in the state to receive
accreditation status from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation
Commission, becoming one of only 15 agencies statewide to achieve
Accreditation is a self-initiated evaluation process by which law enforcement
departments strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established
for the profession, by the profession. These carefully selected standards reflect
critical areas of police management, operations, and technical support activities.
They cover areas such as policy development, emergency response planning, training,
communications, property and evidence handling, use of force, and prisoner
transportation. The program not only sets standards for the law enforcement
profession within the commonwealth, but also for the delivery of police services
to the community.
Achieving accreditation from the commission is the highest award given, and
is a recognition that is highly regarded by the law enforcement community.
Participating in the program and achieving accreditation status allow departments
to demonstrate that they are among the finest in the state. The status of accreditation
is granted for a period of three years. Participation in the program is strictly
Under the leadership of director Paul Ominsky, Public Safety underwent a two-day
assessment in December by a team of commission-appointed assessors. The assessment
team found the department to be in compliance with all 103 mandatory standards.
And although the department was required to meet 60 percent of the 121 optional
standards, it was found to be in compliance with 68 percent of those standards,
exceeding the required minimum. Accreditation was awarded on January 28.
"I am extremely proud of this well-deserved accomplishment by the Department
of Public Safety,” Ominsky said. “This is truly a tribute to the
professionalism of the men and women of this department, and to the College’s
commitment to safety and security on our campus. We work closely with the community
to maintain high levels of safety for all who live, work, study, and visit here.”
Going through the process initially requires intense self-scrutiny, and ultimately
provides a quality assurance review of the agency. In 1999, Ominsky appointed
Barbara Arrighi and Jeanne Tripp to serve as the department’s accreditation
managers. The department achieved certification, a halfway point to accreditation,
in June 2003. This involved meeting 151 mandatory standards. The department
was also the first college or university to attain that status. The accreditation
managers were aided greatly in this effort by three student administrative
fellows: Sarah E. Hayes ’05, Kirkley B. Strand ’04, and Stephanie
M. Liotta ’03.
Although the director’s goal for the department has been achieved, Arrighi’s
and Tripp’s job is not done. Their focus will now shift to monitoring
and maintaining compliance with these standards and preparing for scheduled
reviews by the commission.