Acting as an agent of the law comes with tremendous responsibility. To ensure that its officers meet the highest standards of law enforcement the University of Texas Police at Houston holds itself to national and international standards of excellence, as evidenced by accreditations from leading commissions and associations.
The University of Texas Police at Houston (UT Police) Accreditation Manager Sgt. Everton Long, who maintains documentation of the department's compliance in preparation of annual review, led the process to ensure departmental standards with the accreditation agencies and preparations for site visits.
"The process to maintain accreditation standards for all three major accrediting agencies is meticulous," explained Long. "They will make departmental audits and site visits to ensure UT Police is meeting their standards, which is required for UT Police to be an accredited law enforcement agency.”
Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA)
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies first accredited UT Police in 1994. It emphasizes comprehensive policies, transparent reporting, emergency preparedness, risk management and community outreach.
On Nov. 30, assessors from CALEA paid a virtual visit to UT Police to examine all aspects of its department and operations for reaccreditation. The process focused on compliance with CALEA standards in four main areas: policies and procedures, administration, operations, and support services.
“The department's compliance with CALEA accreditation standards is reviewed on an annual basis by CALEA compliance service members,” said Long. He explained the last major reaccreditation audit of UT Police was completed in 2016.
The decision to award UT Police law enforcement accreditation from CALEA came in March during CALEA’s annual conference.
Texas Police Chiefs Association (TPCA)
The Texas Police Chiefs Association has a Law Enforcement Agency Best Practices Program under which UT Police first earned recognition in 2008. The program’s focus is to establish directives for search and transport, internal investigation, use of force, pursuit, hostage situations, and much more.
In February, UT Police began the process to reapply for the Texas Police Chiefs Association Law Enforcement Best Practices Recognition Program.
The program evaluates a police department’s compliance with 168 best practices for Texas law enforcement agencies. A committee of chiefs of police and command level officers from across Texas developed the Texas Best Practices to assist agencies in the efficient and effective delivery of police services.
These best practices cover all aspects of law enforcement operations including use of force, protection of citizen rights, vehicle pursuits, property and evidence management, and patrol and investigative operations.
“The reapplication for the recognition program is a voluntary process and requires a critical self-review of the agency’s policies, procedures, facilities and operations,” said Long. Along with a file review and audit, an on-site visit was conducted.
The final analysis of UT Police’s reapplication led to the department receiving “recognized” status with a final report accepted at the organization’s annual conference in March 2021.
International Association for College Law Enforcement Agencies (IACLEA)
The International Association for College Law Enforcement Agencies was first formed in 1958 by 11 university security directors. Unique among law accreditation entities, it strives to help educational law enforcement agencies develop policies and practices that focus on the protection of students, faculty and research facilities. UT Police first earned IACLEA accreditation in May 2009.
“With the CALEA and TCPA in hand, we now also look forward to gaining reaccreditation with IACLEA,” said Long as UT Police seeks the Joint Accreditation Compliance Certification. UT Police is only required to prove compliance with 50 IACLEA Standards. “The IACLEA accreditation runs concurrently with our CALEA accreditation.”