2018-08-09 / Community News

Biddeford Police Department receives accreditation

Councilor John McCurry, left, Chief Roger Beaupre, Lt. Ricky Doyon and Sgt. Jeff Greene, attended a ceremony in Michigan to accept a national accreditation. (Courtesy photo) Councilor John McCurry, left, Chief Roger Beaupre, Lt. Ricky Doyon and Sgt. Jeff Greene, attended a ceremony in Michigan to accept a national accreditation. (Courtesy photo) The Biddeford Police Department joined a group of law enforcement agencies that have received national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. The achievement, awarded to 5 percent of law enforcement agencies nationwide, was given to police department officials at recent conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Chief Roger Beaupre and the police department began pursuing accreditation in 2016. During the past two years, BPD has adopted and demonstrated an adherence to a set of established professional standards to meet requirements of the program. The process also included an external, objective evaluation of departmental operations. Requirements of the program are designed to improve the delivery of public services and to instill confidence in community members.

“It should give people confidence that we’re in compliance with the gold standard of law enforcement,” Beaupre said in a press release. “It’s a difficult achievement and there’s only a few who qualify – less than 3 percent in Maine.”

Accreditation had been a goal for the police department for years, and with full support from the city council in 2016, Beaupre was able to commit the resources to the process to complete it efficiently.

“I first tried to start this process in 1995, but recognized that one person working on it alone would take forever,” Beaupre said. “This time, I committed three people full time to getting this accomplished. When you sign up to participate in accreditation, they give you three years to do it, and we were able to complete it in 18 months.”

Councilor John McCurry attended the conference in Grand Rapids with the police department and sat in the audience as Beaupre, Lt. Ricky Doyon and Sgt. Jeffrey Greene testified at the accreditation hearing. When BPD was approved to go in front of the full commission for final approval, McCurry was invited to speak on behalf of the city council.

“I got to tell the commission how glad I was to be there to support our officers and I thanked the police department for their hard work and everyone at the city for getting behind them in this process,” McCurry said. “I’m very, very proud of them for undertaking the accreditation and especially for getting it done in a shorter amount of time than expected.”

Chief Phillip Crowell of the Auburn Police Department spoke to the rigor of the accreditation program. The Auburn Police Department became the second accredited agency in Maine in 2007 under Crowell’s leadership and was the first law enforcement agency in the state to reach Gold Standard accreditation.

“Becoming a nationally CALEA-accredited agency provides for meeting the highest standards associated with law enforcement training, operations, policy and procedures,” Crowell said. “Accreditation does not imply perfection, but rather a commitment toward excellence and accountability. Attaining CALEA recognition requires hard work and the Biddeford community should be very proud of this achievement.” Mayor Alan Casavant agrees. “We’ve always felt that the police department demonstrates its professional talents and skills every day, but earning this accreditation really proves that we have a standout law enforcement agency in this city,” Casavant said. “It’s pretty darn impressive.”

To ensure that CALEA’s high standards continue to be met, the Biddeford Police Department must stand for re-accreditation every four years, a process that includes detailed annual reports, an on-site assessment, community input and a formal hearing before a panel of commissioners.

Former Lewiston Police Chief Bill Welch experienced the accreditation process in 1995 with the city of Lewiston. Upon his retirement from the position, Welch now works as an assessor for CALEA, evaluating law enforcement departments throughout New England.

“In the reaccreditation process, CALEA will make sure that the BPD didn’t just write the policies and procedures that they said they would to earn accreditation,” Welch said. “They have to prove that they’re walking the walk and actually implementing these policies and trainings.”

City Manager James Bennett said he has no doubt the police department will actively follow through with the process and maintain accreditation in the future.

“Chief Beaupre has been fully committed to this for the past two years and he and the rest of city staff are all very proud of this accomplishment,” Bennett said. “We’re looking forward to supporting them as they continue to reach the high standards that they have set for themselves for years to come.”

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