UPD Receives First Reaccreditation

    May 29, 2019
    By: David Kostiak

    This article originally appeared in The Dispatch, the University Police Department's newsletter. Read it here.

    The University of Scranton Police Department has earned its first re-accreditation from the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission (PLEAC) of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association in March of 2019. The Department’s accreditation will now run through 2022.

    When initially evaluated in 2016, UPD was one of only six universities throughout the state whose police department earned association accreditation. Since then, only one additional university police department has been accredited through PLEAC, bringing the total number of Higher-Ed specific accredited departments to seven. All departments pursuing accreditation through PLEAC undergo an intense process that requires the assessment of policing policies, administration, law enforcement procedures, physical facilities, vehicles, and equipment. These standards of compliance provide a framework for preventing unnecessary risk, building community trust, and holding personnel accountable for delivering the highest quality of police services. Accordingly, all accreditation standards must be substantiated through ‘proofs of compliance’ that demonstrate our day-to-day functions meet the required standards established by the commission. Examples of proofs may include audits, police reports, background checks for new hires, and/or training records for department members. In total University Police needed to show a total of 405 proofs of compliance in order to meet PLEACs accreditation criteria.

    Becoming an accredited law enforcement agency is very difficult; however, achieving re-accreditation is even more so. Not only because the time period for assessment increases by 200% (from one calendar year to three calendar years) but also due to the fact that there is a higher expectation for excellence having achieved accreditation at a prior time. The assessment process is lengthy and typically consists of a 30-day inspection of digital proofs, followed by a required on-site visit by association representatives. Over the last 18 months, I received support from the entire department to maintain accreditation, and for that reason, the entire department should be very proud, as each and every member has contributed to this accomplishment.

    As many of you know, UPD employs 18 sworn police officers, three service officers, five dispatchers and two support staff members making our department the second largest full-time police department in Lackawanna County. All campus police officers receive Act 120 and Act 235 certification, and annually receive many more than the state-required 12 hours of mandatory training and firearms qualification training. The officers have the same powers, authority, and responsibility of any officer of the Commonwealth on property owned or operated by The University of Scranton, including public streets and property adjacent to the campus. Although this in and of itself establishes are viability in the city of Scranton, PLEAC accreditation illustrates not only internally, but also externally that our department is committed to professionalism.

    Read The Dispatch, here.

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