The desire to better protect and serve students has
landed The University of Southern Mississippi's Police Department a recognition
award from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
recognition accreditation status, which is a stepping-stone for smaller law enforcement
agencies seeking full accreditation, was awarded to University Police on March
19 in Birmingham, Ala.
The ceremony was the culmination of
the department's two-year campaign to become a bigger force within the university
"We need to keep up with the times," said
University Police Chief Bob Hopkins. "We need to keep up with our training,
polices and procedures and our professionalism."
said the benefits of the accreditation status are already visible as the certification
has boosted funding, morale and the department's ability to ensure students a
"It's going to let them know that the
police department that serves them is committed to providing the best service
we possibly can," he said.
Augmented policies and procedures
are not only protecting students, but are also providing a better shield for the
university by preventing frivolous lawsuits and complaints, according to Accreditation
Manager Allyson Wilson.
Wilson spent the past two years rewriting
and creating policies to place the department in line with CALEA's standards.
The adopted procedures were put to the test in December 2004,
when a group of assessors from accredited organizations across the country visited
the department. Through a series of interviews and an inspection of the facility,
the group determined that the department was worthy of an accreditation recommendation
"We came away from there with a very good report
from the assessors," Hopkins said. "In fact, we passed the onsite visit
with flying colors."
Both Hopkins and Wilson believe they
could not have gotten the green light without the support of the administration,
which authorized nearly $50,000 in expenditures for bulletproof vests, video surveillance
and other much-needed equipment to bring the department up to CALEA's standards.
the department's recognition accreditation status remains in effect for the next
three years, Hopkins said he and his crew will continue to look for ways to make
For more information on services provided by
University Police, please contact Chief Bob Hopkins at (601) 266- 4947.