By Joseph Fitzgerald
CENTRAL FALLS - The Central Falls Police Department is now the 10th law enforcement agency in the state to earn accreditation from the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission (RIPAC).
The Department's accreditation status was formerly recognized at a ceremony Thursday at City Hall.
“This marks a major achievement for the hard-working men and women of the Central Falls Police Department,” Central Falls Mayor Diossa said at the ceremony. "Not too long ago, the department faced an uncertain future along with the rest of the city. The accreditation demonstrates the turnaround of the department and also of the city."
"I’m proud of this distinction that recognizes the quality of service and high standards set by the law enforcement in our community," Diossa said.
The accreditation is the result of a series of policy and infrastructure updates within the department reviewed by RIPAC.
The RIPAC accreditation standards were formally established in May of 2013 and are comprised of professional policing standards that departments in the state can measure performance against.
The development of an accreditation program for police agencies in Rhode Island is a way of providing the tools necessary for agencies to evaluate and improve their overall performance that is reasonable and cost effective. This in-state accreditation program is a department initiated process by which police departments in Rhode Island voluntarily strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established for the police profession, by the police profession.
Central Falls is just the 10th community to meet the RIPAC threshold and only the 2nd in the state to meet compliance with the 200 standard assessment.
Achieving the RIPAC accreditation was a three year process, during which CFPD re-evaluated and updated many of its policies, procedures, and practices to bring them in line with departments across the state.
RIPAC is a subsidiary of RIPCA and is comprised of law enforcement executives, members of academia, police union representatives, a representative from the long standing police accreditation coalition, and a member of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns.
“Having met the rigorous and demanding standards set forth by the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Program, the Central Falls Police Department has achieved a level of professionalism designed to improve our agencies overall performance and efficiency while significantly reducing our risk of liability” said Colonel James J. Mendonca, chief of police. “Additionally, professional standards build trust, and achieving accreditation will serve as the foundation for our department to meet or exceed established benchmarks for policing activities.”
RIPAC standards are similar to a national assessment model set by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). CFPD is currently working towards gaining its CALEA accreditation in the near future.
Originally published in the 9/11 edition of The Pawtucket Times.