U commits to achieving national safety accreditation
The U is seeking accreditation through both the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), as well as the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). CALEA accreditation is recognized as the “gold standard in public safety” and requires that agencies meet an established set of professional standards and best practices. The accreditation process began in early June 2020 with enrollment in the CALEA program and is expected to take approximately 36 months and should be completed by mid-2023. IACLEA accreditation builds on this with a few additional requirements specific to higher education and will occur immediately after CALEA accreditation is achieved.
As part of this effort, a Policy Review Committee was established within the University Safety Department that is working to update policies, processes, and procedures to meet CALEA standards and address circumstances unique to the University of Utah. More than 50 policies will be implemented as part of this process.
Once developed, many of these policies will be reviewed by a Public Safety Advisory Committee, which will be established in fall 2020 and will consist of students, faculty, and staff. This group will meet with the Chief Safety Officer and the University Safety leadership team regularly about a variety of safety issues and will also have the opportunity to provide feedback and make suggestions on policies as they are developed.
Accreditation also requires that certain data be collected and made available publicly, that physical facilities meet specific requirements and that personnel meet standards of professionalism, including implementing processes for investigating and addressing unprofessional behaviors. As part of the accreditation process, the U has invested in a new public safety building designed to meet CALEA standards. The building is expected for completion in late 2021.
The accreditation process will conclude with an external assessment and on-site evaluation that will involve public comment sessions, interviews with various individuals associated with the department, process- and outcomes-mapping and community feedback. Additionally, the U will be responsible for ongoing self-assessments every three years in order to maintain accreditation and be in compliance with the ever-evolving best practices in the law enforcement community.