On Wednesday, November 7, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) inaugurated its first accreditation meeting in Mexico with the support of the Merida Initiative and the Police Foundation. The U.S. Department of State, together with the Police Foundation, supports the accreditation of Mexican law enforcement agencies by CALEA. There are currently more than 30 state, municipal, and federal law enforcement agencies pursuing CALEA accreditation in Mexico, including police departments, public safety training academies, and public safety communication centers.
Law enforcement agencies achieve accreditation following a multi-year self-assessment phase and a meticulous site-based assessment of community engagement, policy, procedures, equipment and facilities by CALEA assessors. Each agency then goes before CALEA’s Board of Commissioners, which reviews all findings and makes an independent determination regarding the agencies’ accreditation status.
Today, six Mexican criminal justice agencies will present at hearings in order to earn CALEA accreditation: Queretaro State Police and Communications Center, Sonora State Police and State Training Academy, Tabasco State Training Academy, and Metepec Municipal Police. CALEA Executive Director W. Craig Hartley Jr. will award accreditation to those agencies approved by the Commission, signifying excellence in public safety and commitment to the community.
Most of the agencies presenting at hearings this week have been supported by the Police Foundation with funding support from the State Department’s Merida Initiative.
At the conference, Tobin Bradley, director of the Merida Initiative office at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico noted, “Accreditation increases public trust in institutions; it gives citizens confidence that their complaints will be heard, that their police forces will do what they should, and if they don’t – that they will be held accountable.”
CALEA’s Executive Director W. Craig Hartley, Jr. added, “The process of CALEA accreditation is a proven model for success in public safety. CALEA’s partnership with the Police Foundation and the United States Department of State serves to further assist public safety leaders and practitioners in Mexico to achieve continuous organizational improvement.”
“We are honored to provide technical assistance and guidance to Mexican law enforcement agencies as they pursue international accreditation and we are grateful for the State Department’s critical support. This program has already resulted in the accreditation of multiple agencies across Mexico and has generated interest from dozens of others, demonstrating a strong desire to enhance professionalism and to advance Mexican policing,” said Jim Burch, Executive Vice President of the Police Foundation.
The Merida Initiative is a bilateral security cooperation agreement between Mexico and the United States of America. Through nearly ten years of implementation, the Merida Initiative has led to greater cooperation between the United States and Mexico. It provides tangible support to Mexico’s law enforcement and judicial institutions, strengthens border security, and helps to counteract the activities of transnational criminal organizations and the illegal trade in narcotics. To date, through the Mérida Initiative the United States has delivered USD 1.8 billion in equipment, training, and capacity building assistance to the government of Mexico.
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., (CALEA®) was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority. The purpose of CALEA’s Accreditation Programs is to improve the delivery of public safety services, primarily by: maintaining a body of standards, developed by public safety practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives; establishing and administering an accreditation process; and recognizing professional excellence. This accreditation program provides public safety agencies an opportunity to voluntarily demonstrate that they meet an established set of professional standards based on industry best practices and approved by an all-volunteer board of commissioners.
The Police Foundation is a U.S.-based, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing policing through innovation and science. For nearly 50 years, the Police Foundation has conducted research on all aspects of policing, provided training and technical assistance in all aspects of policing, and has led the way in promoting and sharing evidence-based practices and innovation among law enforcement in the U.S. and internationally. For more information on the Police Foundation, please visit www.policefoundation.org (www.fundacionpolicia.org.mx) or contact James Burch, Executive Vice President, at [email protected]