Johnston Police Department seeks national accredidation

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Although the Johnston Police Department and Chief Richard S. Tamburini have enjoyed many successes through the years, the JPD has never had national accreditation.

However, that tag – which several years ago was awarded to the Johnston Senior Center after a year of hard-work, paperwork and planning – could be granted to the JPD in the coming weeks.

“That would certainly be the ultimate honor as well as the culmination of the Chief’s distinguished career,” said Daniel O. Parrillo, the JPD’s Deputy Chief and Public Information Officer. “The Department has put in a lot of work that goes along with such an application.”

Lt. Matthew J. Benson, the JPD’s Accreditation Manager, this week announced that a team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) will arrive this Sunday, March 19, to begin a thorough, three-day examination of the JPD’s overall operation.

“The assessors will examine all aspects of our department,” Chief Tamburini said. “They’ll cover everything from policy and procedures, management, operation, and support services.”

The Hall of Fame Chief also noted, “that verification by the town that the Johnston Police Department meets the Commission’s state-of-the-art standards is part of a voluntary process to gain national accreditation -- a highly-prized recognition of public safety excellence.”

Benson explained: “This is the first time the JPD has applied for the National Accreditation honor … it’s something the Chief has always wanted to do.”

While there is an application and annual fee for the program, according to Lt. Benson funds for that expense are taken from narcotics seizures.

As part of the assessment - which will be conducted by distinguished CALEA Assessors Chief Sean Kelly of the Weare, New Hampshire Police Department and Lt. Len Hatcher (retired) of the Garner, North Carolina Police Department - agency personnel and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session to be held on Monday, March 20 at Johnston Municipal Court at 1600 Atwood Avenue. The session will being at 6:30 p.m.

Individuals unable to speak at the public information session who would like to provide comments to the assessment team may do so by calling 401-757-3125 on Monday, March 20, between 1 and 3 p.m.

Benson noted that telephone comments – as well as those appearances at Monday night’s public information session – will be limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency’s ability to complete with CALEA standards. He also announced that a copy of the standards is available at police headquarters, and he may be contacted at (401) 757-3150 or via email at mbenson@johnstonpd.com.

Written comments about the department’s ability to meet the standards for accreditation will be accepted through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) at 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320, Gainsville, Va. 20155.

During the assessors three-day visit, Benson noted that “Chief Kelly and Lt. Hatcher will do everything from ride-alongs with JPD officers, tour the cell block and more. Basically, the Department is open for their inspection.”

“The JPD has to comply with 189 standards in order to gain national accreditation status. After earning State Accreditation back in December, 2015, we wanted to explore a national perspective and expanded level of scrutiny over the operational and functional practices of the Johnston Police Department,” said Chief Tamburini. “We believe that our organization is worthy of both local and national recognition for the diligent and effective services the officers of the JPD provide to the community on a daily basis.”

If the JPD is awarded the national accreditation honor, the distinction would be for four years. During that time, the department must submit annual reports and participate in annual remote web-based assessments attesting continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited.

“The significance in earning such a prestigious award is the international validation that a CALEA award of accreditation provides,” said Tamburini, who has more than a half-century career of working in law enforcement. “The people of Johnston should gain solace knowing that their law enforcement organization has been certified as one of efficiency and functional best-practice with the State of Rhode Island and, now, the nation. ”

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