Grabbing gold: UB Police receives accreditation from IACLEA
UPD’s Lieutenant Scott Bixby patrols and helps with crowd control at Spring Fest last May. UPD recently received accreditation from IACLEA and has achieved a “gold standard.”
University Police is proud its “gold standards” are now recognized by some prestigious accreditation organizations.
The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), the “leading voice for the campus public safety community” that represents more than 1,000 colleges and universities around the world, announced its approval of UPD last month. The accreditation makes UPD the only police department in New York State accredited through IACLEA, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (NYS DCJS) and the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA).
“It is a great acknowledgment. We, in some respects, set the tone for all of the other SUNY campuses,” said Police Chief Gerald Schoenle.
Use of force and Clery Act compliance are part of the core standards that made UPD deserving of the accreditation. Per the Clery Act, all colleges and universities in federal financial aid programs are required to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses. UPD sent out its annual safety and security report two weeks ago.
To be accredited by the IACLEA, campus police departments must adhere to more than 200 core and elective standards to even be considered a department that exemplifies the best practice in law enforcement.
IACLEA’s core standards address high liability issues and subjects including life, health and safety concerns according to Jack Leonard, director of accreditation at IACLEA.
According to Leonard, the standards set by these agencies are intended to provide benchmarks. The choice to pursue formal accreditation is voluntary, but represents a commitment by the department to institute practice standards, undergo a peer review and maintain continuing compliance with the standards.
In response to UPD’s lack of racial diversity, Schoenle said UPD is required to make an effort to diversify its staff. Out of 40 UPD officers, 39 are white.
In light of recent events and threats to university campuses across the country, these agencies also hold strict guidelines for an event such as an active gunman on campus.
UPD takes any threat to campus seriously and information contingency plans for such events are available for the public on UB’s Emergency Management webpage, according to Schoenle.
Last month, a student reported seeing a man drop what looked like a gun in the Student Union. UPD sent out an alert but did not suspect there was ever a threat to the campus.
To be considered for an accreditation, an applicant must submit standards listed in IACLEA’s Accreditation Standards Manual as well as undergo a self-evaluation of the department’s own practices and improve upon them.
Schoenle said UPD applied for the accreditation two and half years ago.
UPD’s NYS DCJS accreditation sets it apart. The acknowledgment is meant for New York State police departments and is not held by many college campuses.
CALEA is an accrediting agency not typically driven toward campus police departments, but a massive achievement, according to Schoenle.
Students also feel fortunate their police department is recognized in this way.
AJ Dennison, a freshman finance major, thinks it is great not only for the students at UB, but for the reputation of the university as well.
“With being accredited by three agencies, the university’s police department shows how their practice is widely acceptable,” Dennison said. “Students should feel reassured that we have a police department to protect and serve us, especially for students living in and around south campus.
Leonard describes Schoenle and the UPD as “active and engaged member[s] of IACLEA and a great proponent of law enforcement accreditation.”
“We are pleased that the State University of New York Buffalo Police Department elected to pursue accreditation and proud to have them join the other member agencies that have achieved the gold standard,” Leonard said.
Evan Schneider is a news staff writer. News desk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.