VPD maintains accreditation; one of 26 in the state

Published 7:38 pm Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Vicksburg Police Department has maintained its accreditation from the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.

The accreditation is the second the department has gone through since 2012. Its last assessment was in 2015. It is one of 26 departments accredited in the state.

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“We do this every three years,” said police Capt. Michael Bryant, the department’s accreditation manager.

“I think it’s a big deal saying we’re one of only so many departments that’s accredited,” Police Chief Milton Moore said. “We’re trying to get better at what we do, and by having strong policies and procedures in place, helps us to grow as a department and continue to better serve this community the best way we can.”

To receive reaccreditation, Bryant said, the department must meet 140 professional standards set by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The assessment is performed by a team of officials from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

The team, he said, was at the police department for two days in late November.

“The big thing they’re doing is looking over our files,” Bryant said, adding he has to provide documentation from the past three years to show the department and its officers are complying with each of the tasks.

“Some of these 140 tasks may have 8 to 10 bullet points, so each one of those has to be proven, and the proofs are usually in the form of excerpts from police reports or photographs or different documentation of our forms that show we’re meeting the standards,” he said.

“It is a very stringent review.”

Bryant said the nine-chapter book of standards covers topics that include the department’s mission statement, swearing-in officers, background checks of the officers, complaints, internal investigations, making sure uniforms and equipment are given to the officers and returned by the officers when they leave, our pursuit policy, making sure officers have body armor.

“It’s a wide gamut of things,” he said. “We don’t have a policy on drones yet, but I’m sure that’s coming,” he said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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