BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Bloomfield Police Department has been accredited by the NJ State Association of Chief of Police.
According to BPD Director Sam DeMaio, the department applied for accreditation two years ago and learned in late October 2016 it had earn accreditation. At the most recent township council meeting, Monday, Feb. 27, Harry Delgato, of the NJSACOP, presented DeMaio with a framed certificate of acknowledgment.
In a telephone interview earlier this week, DeMaio said accreditation will mean that Bloomfield residents will have one of the most professional police department in the state and that township officers will be well-versed in applying the highest policing standards on Bloomfield streets.
The NJSACOP is the organization that accredits worthy law-enforcement agencies, including sheriffs departments, parole bureaus and county prosecutors offices. According to Delgado, 105 standards have to be met for an agency to become accredited.
“Accreditation is not a given,” Delgado said in an telephone interview this week. “Some agencies struggle and can’t get it.”
He said that currently there are 172 New Jersey accredited agencies. When he joined the NJSACOP, in 2011, he said that number was 37. Law-enforcement accreditation began in 2002, Delgado said. At the time, the states belonged to a national accreditation association. But in 2012, he said some states determined it would be better if they had their own accreditation process because of state-specific laws. Delgado said 29 states, including New Jersey, now have their own standards and within New Jersey, all accredited agencies are “going by the same script.”
To become accredited, an agency has to review all procedures and revise, if necessary. Even the physical facilities have to be inspected and possibly changed. As an example, Delgado gave the keeping of prisoners.
“There’s nothing by happenstance,” he said. “Accreditation gives law enforcement and service to the community a professional status.”
DeMaio said accreditation has given each BPD department structural guidelines.
“Everyone has a clear-cut idea on how to act,” he said. “This gives me a good tool in measuring how they are performing.”
Since all officers are adhering to the same practices, structuring has another important benefit.
“It offers you a layer of protection from civil liability,” Delgado said.
DeMaio said that would mean insurance-premium reductions for the taxpayer.
The overall process of accreditation includes an onsite investigation of compliance and a hearing. An annual report is required from the department and it must reapply every three years.
“The mayor charged me to reform this department,” DeMaio said. “The accreditation shows that the department has come full-circle and operating as professionally as we can.”