By NATHAN GREGORY
In 2008, Starkville Police Department became the first municipal law enforcement agency in the state to successfully complete the assessment for accreditation by the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.
SPD took the next step Saturday when it became just the sixth agency in the state to earn national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement.
CALEA officials did an on-site assessment in June in which SPD had to show proof that it met each of the 192 standards required to earn national accreditation. In addition to those, SPD had to meet 11 additional state-specific qualifications.
SPD joins the police departments of Hattiesburg, Madison, Picayune, the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State University as nationally accredited law enforcement agencies. MSU earned its national accreditation in 2005.
Oktibbeha County is the only one in the state in which all three law enforcement agencies — SPD, MSUPD and Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department — all have at least MSLEAC accreditation. OCSD officially earned MSLEAC accreditation last week.
SPD Chief David Lindley said CALEA accreditation is the pinnacle of law enforcement status.
“I am extremely proud of members of SPD for being able to attain this measure of success. CALEA is the gold standard for law enforcement agencies. It’s been a long process, but we’ve prevailed,” Lindley said. “I hope public realizes how much of a milestone achievement this is.”