Johnston Police Captain honored by RIPAC

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Johnston Police Capt. Matthew Benson has been named Assessor of the Year by the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission (RIPAC).

Last week, RIPAC held an awards and accreditation recognition ceremony, where Benson received the award.

“Captain Benson, who also serves as a member of the RIPAC Commission, is the epitome of what the Commission stands for and expects of those tasked with guiding our members through a successful assessment as an assessor,” said RIPAC Executive Director Christine Crocker, who nominated Benson for the award. “I know that without his guidance and support, many of our members would not have had a successful assessment.”

The ceremony, held Wednesday, June 30, at the Great Hall at the Community College of Rhode Island-Warwick campus, also highlighted 14 Ocean State police departments for achieving accreditation status during the past year.

Benson, who serves as the commander of Johnston’s Operations and Training Division, is charged with maintaining the department’s accreditation status.

As accreditation manager, he is responsible for performing administrative work, coordinating accreditation activities, and accomplishing assigned tasks consistent with agency goals and standards established by RIPAC, according to Johnston Police Chief Joseph Razza.

His success in that role led him to being named as an assessor of other departments through RIPAC in 2015.

“I am very proud of Captain Benson’s accomplishment as he is truly deserving of this recognition,” Razza said. “He continuously goes above and beyond for the Johnston Police Department and other agencies throughout Rhode Island. He unselfishly makes himself readily available to offer his expertise and precision in the field of state and national accreditation.”

According to Crocker, Benson is an asset to his agency as well as the Rhode Island law enforcement community as an assessor and mentor who also seeks to enhance the profession through accreditation.

Crocker said that numerous agencies turn to Benson for assistance with accreditation related activities such as policy development, ways to prove compliance, file construction, and oversight of early intervention programs.

Nearly 100 percent of Rhode Island’s police departments participate in the accreditation program, and after the June 30 ceremony, 34 of 46 Ocean State agencies have achieved accreditation status.

“We offer our sincerest congratulations to each of the newly accredited departments, reaccredited departments and individual awards winners,” said RIPAC Chairman Chief Richard St. Sauveur. “Rhode Island is a nationwide leader in accreditation participation, and it is because of agencies and individuals such as those we honor here today that our program continues to be as successful as it is.”

RIPAC’s mission is to enhance the delivery of law enforcement services through a voluntary accreditation program, which fosters adherence to industry-recognized best practices.

Rhode Island Police Departments receiving Initial Accreditation recognition included Lincoln Police, Tiverton Police, Community College of Rhode Island Police and Rhode Island College Police.

Departments recognized for Reaccreditation included Glocester Police, Charlestown Police, North Kingstown Police, Pawtucket Police, Portsmouth Police, Rhode Island Capitol Police, Woonsocket Police and West Warwick Police.

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), a national credentialing authority, attaining RIPAC Reaccreditation also included Cranston Police and Smithfield Police.

“Accreditation is no easy task for a department to achieve," Crocker said. “All of these agencies worked extremely hard and diligently to maintain these high standards, even despite the pandemic. Having been an accreditation manager myself I know how difficult the process is, and my hat goes off to each department honored here today.”

In addition to accreditation recognition, RIPAC presented a long list of individual awards.

The Chief Anthony M. Pesare Leadership Award was given to Paul F. Dutra, Esq., Property/Liability Claims Manager for the Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management TRUST.

Accreditation Manager of the Year was awarded to two recipients: Lt. Diana Perez, of the North Providence Police Department, and Sgt. Ricardo D. Mourato, of the Bristol Police Department

RIPAC first held an awards ceremony in 2019, but was unable to hold an in-person event last year due to the pandemic.

Despite the pandemic, the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission worked hard to ensure the strict accreditation process was followed for those agencies going through the process.

Normally RIPAC would conduct accreditation evaluations in person, but due to the pandemic part of their work over the past year and a half was done remotely, according to a press release from the organization.

The agency noted that it was a challenge to keep the process thorough while also abiding by health and safety precautions.

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