Department meets all 177 standards set by Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police
“This is a significant achievement,” Somerset Police Chief William Hunt said. “There are fewer than 10 agencies across Kentucky to achieve accreditation six times.”
Those law enforcement agencies that meet the standards set by the Chiefs of Police Accreditation Program demonstrate they meet a high level of professional standards for efficient and effective operations. Agencies that achieve accreditation have examined all aspects of their operations. They have made conscious decisions about policies and procedures that fit the law enforcement requirements of their jurisdictions and have implemented those policies and trained their employees in their use.
The overall goal of the accreditation program is to promote professionalism and improve the delivery of law enforcement services. Hunt said accreditation gives SPD the tools necessary to ensure that all policies and procedures conform to the most up-to-date professional law enforcement standards and best practices.
State accreditation through the KACP is not mandatory, Hunt said — participation demonstrates SPD’s commitment to professional excellence in serving the community.
“This was a long and demanding process, but worth it,” Hunt said. “It’s one more way to reassure our residents that their police department is committed to earning and maintaining their trust; we are always striving to achieve the highest of standards.”
Accreditation is a progressive and time-proven way of helping institutions evaluate and improve their overall performance. The cornerstone of this strategy lies in setting standards — 177 of them for KACP — containing a clear statement of professional objectives. Originally KACP required each agency be re-evaluated for accreditation every five years; the standard is now every four.
Each agency seeking accreditation appoints an accreditation manager to oversee and guide the department through the task of meeting each standard. Hunt expressed gratitude to SPD’s accreditation manager, Capt. Mike Correll, who serves as the administrative division commander.
“Capt. Correll has worked diligently to ensure our agency met all 177 standards set by the KACP,” Hunt said.
After agencies conduct a thorough analysis to determine how existing operations can be adapted to meet these objectives, the accreditation manager applies for accreditation. Once the procedures are in place, a team of independent professionals is assigned to verify that all applicable standards have been successfully implemented.
The independent assessment team during its inspection of the agencies goes beyond policy review and examines the application of those policies. After the initial review of an agency’s policies and documentation, the team conducts a site visit inspecting facilities, interviewing officers and civilian staff as well as inspecting police vehicles and equipment. The process culminates with a decision by an authoritative body that the institution is worthy of accreditation.
Accreditation reflects that SPD was carefully measured against an established set of standards and has met or exceeded professionally accepted practices in law enforcement. The standards used in this program were developed by the KACP membership and are reviewed each year to determine if changes are necessary or additional standards should be in place.
Re-accreditation would not have been possible without the work of retired SPD Chief David Gilbert and every SPD chief since Gilbert who worked to maintain these standards, Hunt said. He said it would also not have been possible without the continued support of Mayor Alan Keck and the Somerset City Council.
“Chief Gilbert understood the importance of SPD meeting these professional standards and obtained our first certificate of accreditation in 1996,” Hunt said. “I also want to thank each SPD chief since Gilbert who put forth the effort to ensure our department continued on this path of professionalism, never allowing a lapse in accreditation.
“I am extremely proud of our officers for this achievement,” Hunt said. “Ultimately, this is a direct reflection on their level of professionalism and devotion to our police department and community.”