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Accreditation Team Holds Public Forum On LAPD

on November 29, 2017 - 9:03am

Michael O'Brien, left, and John Farrell of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) listen to members of the community Tuesday evening at the Municipal Building. Photo by Maire O'Neill/ladailypost.com

LAPD Accreditation Manager Sgt. Daniel Roberts, left, and John Farrell chat following Tuesday's community forum. Photo by Maire O'Neill/ladailypost.com

 

By MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Daily Post

Three Los Alamos residents turned out to speak to a team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) about Los Alamos Police Department Tuesday evening at the Municipal Building.

Team members Michael O’Brien and John Farrell arrived in town Monday and will continue to examine all aspects of the LAPD policy and procedures, management, operations and support services until their Friday departure.

The CALEA voluntary accreditation process involves meeting some 484 state-of-the-art standards and includes an onsite visit by assessors to verify that the Department meets CALEA’s requirements. As the LAPD Accreditation Manager, Sgt. Daniel Roberts and other staff have spent two years reviewing, rewriting and organizing some 800 pages of Department policies and procedures to bring them into line with CALEA standards.

Policies and procedures have been reviewed by LAPD command staff and other subject matter experts as well as County legal and human resources staff and LAPD union officials. Roberts said everyone in the Department has a good understanding of why LAPD is seeking CALEA accreditation and that there has been lots of help and support.

At Tuesday’s meeting, local resident Greg White, who has announced his candidacy for sheriff in next year’s election, was the only person to speak negatively of the Department. He told the team that there are a few bad apples spoiling the entire Department. He said more than half the County believes there is corruption going on in County government. 

White complained to the team about incidents he felt should have been handled differently by LAPD and singled out Chief Dino Sgambellone and Cmdr. Oliver Morris for criticism. White also expressed concern about hiring practices for LAPD officers. He concluded by saying that just because he has issues with LAPD doesn’t mean the Department shouldn’t get accredited. Team members later indicated that they were familiar with White’s concerns as they had conducted their own research before arriving in Los Alamos.

County Councilor Rick Reiss, speaking as an individual, addressed the team concerning personnel standards for the Department and described how improvements have been made through Human Resources that help guide the hiring of qualified new officers and ensure all requirements are met.

Reiss described his recent participation in the annual inspection of the Detention Center and said he was very impressed with the knowledgeable staff who knew every standard that was thrown at them. He said inmates have a clean place to sleep and nutritious meals.

“If someone had to be in jail, the best jail to be in would be ours,” Reiss said.

He told the team he hoped they would find everything they needed in the Department and assured them that the Department would take care of any issue in following up.

Former County Councilor Vincent Chiravalle told the team that Los Alamos has a reputation of being a safe community, which he attributed to good police work done by LAPD. He cited the strong presence of patrols in the community, constant presence of police officers at the middle school and high school and the bike patrol as reasons why people feel safe. He praised LAPD officers for being proactive and actively aware of what is going on in the community saying they always fall back on their training.

“Even though they have gone through the police academy and have all their required training, they want to improve and set a higher set of standards,” Chiravalle said.

If LAPD earns accreditation it will be for a four-year period during which the Department will have to submit annual reports and participate in annual remote web-based assessments attesting continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited.


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