NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — It’s considered law enforcement’s “gold standard,” and Rutgers police are looking to maintain that badge of honor.
The Rutgers University Police Department is vying for re-accreditation from a law enforcement group made up of high-ranking police associations from across the world. The school’s police force first received the nod in 2011, according to the university.
Officials for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies are scheduled to perform an on-site inspection of the department early next week. That process also calls for members of the public to share their thoughts on Rutgers’ police department and how it operates.
“In the pursuit of excellence, we welcome this high level of scrutiny and accountability,” RUPD Chief Kenneth Cop said in a statement, “and we look forward to be sharpened in the process.”
People who wish to comment on the department may do so at 4 p.m. March 27 at the Rutgers Visitor Center, 100 Sutphen Rd., Piscataway. They may also leave comments from 1 to 3 p.m. that day by calling 848-932-4949 or writing to the address listed here.
So what does accreditation mean?
According to Rutgers, the status “demonstrates excellence in the delivery and administration of public safety services,” as judged by more than 500 standards. That translates to more effective policing, better cooperation with other law enforcement agencies and greater confidence among staffers in the department’s operations, according to the school.
Accreditors plan to assess the department’s policies and procedures, administration, operations and support services. That means they’ll review documents, interview employees and visit offices.
Afterward, they’ll report back to the commission, which will ultimately render a decision on the status of RUPD.
If campus police earn the nod, they’d be required to submit annual reports regarding compliance with the commission’s standards. The accreditation would be valid for four years.
The commission recognizes 659 accredited police agencies of 17,000 in the country. In New Jersey, 14 departments, including just one other university police force, hold the status.