Crystal Lake police earns advanced accreditation

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Crystal Lake Police Department is the fourth law enforcement agency in McHenry County to receive advanced accreditation.

The department recently joined the Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Huntley and McHenry police departments, in earning the international distinction from the Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

The commission was formed in 1979 to address accountability, liability, performance and community partnership issues in police services.

To be considered for accreditation, Crystal Lake police had to demonstrate compliance with 480 standards to ensure the department was operating under a best practices model established by CALEA.

“This is more than just receiving a title,” said Cmdr. Brian Karr, who also serves as the department’s accreditation manager. “This provides a stronger defense against civil lawsuits, reduces insurance premiums and increases community support.”

The accreditation ended a more than three-year process that started with the department signing a contract with CALEA in September 2009 and ended with an awards presentation in late March in North Charleston, S.C.

Between that time, police officials completed a review of the department’s policies in order to comply with the guidelines. That included adopting policies and procedures to meet internationally accepted practices.

The accreditation process is a management model and blueprint for self-improvement meant to strengthen accountability within the department and the community, according to a news release.

Once the overhaul was complete, a team of assessors from CALEA completed their four-day, on-site assessment of the Crystal Lake Police Department by reviewing policies and procedures, management operations and support services. Group members also interviewed officers, city staff and residents for feedback.

The full commission later unanimously voted to award the department the advanced accreditation.

The department will have to submit annual reports showing compliance with the standards over the next three years. After the three years, the department can reapply for accreditation.