Hospitals have it. So do educational institutions. Many liken accreditation to a stamp of approval.
And on Monday night, the Horsham Township Police Department earned a plaque and a visit from Joseph Blackburn of Harrisburg for its fourth accreditation.
“There are no free passes in this program,” Blackburn, the accreditation project coordinator for the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association told police, residents and elected officials during Monday’s Horsham Township Council meeting. “You either meet the standard, or you don’t.”
Police departments seeking accreditation are assessed every three years by cops from various parts of the state, Blackburn said. In all, departments are measured against 133 standards and sub-standards, including, but not limited to, organization and management; staff support; and property and evidence control.
Of the 1,200 police departments in Pennsylvania, only 100 meet the stringent accreditation criteria, Horsham Township Manager Bill Walker said.
“I am very proud of our police department, very proud of our officers,” Walker said.
While the process for accreditation is “time-consuming” and “frustrating,” according to Blackburn, the end result is well worth the headaches.
“It’s a blueprint for excellence,” he said. “It promotes the efficient use of resources.”