Rockford Police Department looks to achieve top tier status in accreditation assessment

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Rockford Police Department invited an accreditation program to see if it has what it takes to be a top tier department. Those in charge of the assessment say good policing doesn’t stop at having good policies.

The Rockford Police Department wants to see how it measures up to the top departments in the country. Next week, they will be placed under a microscope as law enforcement assessors determine whether the agency will receive state accreditation.

“The policy is good on paper, but you need to back it up with the proof. That’s the main thing about accreditation, you can say you’re doing a bunch of stuff but unless you have some proof, you’re not doing it,” explained Sgt. John Lawson, the accreditation team lead with ILEAP.

Sergeant Lawson with the Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (ILEAP) will lead a team of assessors. Examining RPD standards in administration, operations, personnel, and training.

Assessors will also accept public comments regarding RPD next Thursday. The department already underwent a preliminary assessment earlier this year.

Agency personnel, elected officials, and members of the community are invited to offer
comments during a public information call-in session on July 16, 2020, between the hours of
2:45 p.m. -3:45 p.m. at (779) 500-6575. Telephone comments are limited to five minutes and must
address the department’s ability to meet the ILEAP accreditation standards.

“They showed us a lot of their policies, we went out there and made several recommendations and suggestions for them to prepare for the full on-site which is coming up next week,” Sgt. Lawson said.

Sergeant Lawson says that Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea applied for accreditation over a year ago. The chief issued a statement in a press release that praised the caliber of RPD officers.

“I am proud of the Rockford Police Department for receiving the ILEAP accreditation”, says Chief
Dan O’Shea. “Rockford will be the largest municipal police agency in the state of Illinois to hold
ILEAP accreditation. Having a high standard accreditation certification directly correlates to the
high caliber of men and women that make up the Rockford Police Department.”

“The goal is that every law enforcement agency is accredited either Tier 1 or Tier 2,” Sgt. Lawson added.

RPD is being considered for top tier status, which would cost the department $800 annually for 4 years. Tier 2 requires agencies to meet 180 standards, as opposed to Tier 1’s 67.

Rockford would be the 41st department to receive ILEAP accreditation. Sergeant Lawson hopes more agencies will follow suit.

“We’re getting a lot of applications right now because of the climate and because this professionalizes and it certifies agencies that they’re meeting these mandates that they’re meeting these standards,” Sgt. John Lawson concluded.

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