by Cyrus dos Santos
The Central Connecticut State University Police Department is setting the standard for community policing.
In November 2016, CCSUPD received re-accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. “It’s a group that measures high excellence in law enforcement,” said Sgt. Jerry Erwin.
For Erwin, this means a determination of excellence for the CCSU community. Had they failed in re-certification, he believes it would be “letting down the community.”
The department has been accredited since 2004, when they first applied to CALEA. Initial acceptance is based on successful compliance with 464 standards set by CALEA. The certification lasts four years. Re-certification culminates in a three-day, on-site inspection of all general orders and practices, where they must meet 188 standards.
One guideline is the Prisoner Transport Standard, which aligns with CCSUPD’s Double-Locking Policy. During an arrest, police must double-lock handcuffs to prevent the bracelets from tightening, which can cut off blood circulation, cause nerve injury or even break the wrist. Following that, they must pat down the suspect to assure there is nothing that can cause the arresting officer or the detainee harm, such as weapons or drugs.
“You then put the subject in the car,” said Erwin. The officer must verify the back seat is free from anything that can cause harm, or “anything in the car that would place blame on them when, really, they didn’t have anything to do with it.” This must be followed by securing the suspect with a safety belt and safely transporting them back to the station for processing.
“Being thorough is the most important part of the job,” said Erwin.
CALEA requires departments to have an established Preparedness Program. CCSU is included within the city of New Britain as a critical triage site in the instance of a natural disaster. In the event of an emergency, first responders would make use of the Bubble, Memorial Hall and other such facilities. “We’re the biggest place with alternative power,” said Erwin.
One benefit of accreditation is legal defense in situations of civil litigation or any other instance where the department may face legal action. “By us following the accreditation standards and our policies, CALEA will send a team of lawyers to assist us,” said Erwin.
The department is monitored by yearly, electronic progress reports that tracks their progress. Accreditation and software costs CCSUPD approximately $8,000 annually.