City of Oneonta Police Department Accreditation Award

On December 18th 2014, the Oneonta Police Department was formally awarded the esteemed status of “New York State fully-accredited police agency” by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.   This tremendous achievement is the culmination of 2 ½ years of hard work and devotion spent towards advancing the operations and administration of the Oneonta Police Department in order to best serve the citizens of Oneonta.

Earning this status means that the City of Oneonta Police Department meets or exceeds the best practices for law enforcement and has successfully passed the rigors of the state accreditation council’s requirements.  These requirements include, but are not limited to; compliance with over 100 required state standards in specific areas such as training, recruitment, hiring practices, discipline, promotions, evidence collection and storage, uniform standards, vehicle operation, rules of conduct, record keeping, use of force,  fiscal management, internal investigations, crime scene processing, public relations, communications, victim rights, and many others.

Statistically, fewer than 30% of police departments statewide have achieved this distinction and less than 8% of police agencies the size of the Oneonta Police Department can claim this honor.  As a member of the New York State assessment team appropriately stated upon completion of the formal assessment, this distinction places the Oneonta PD amongst the “elite” of law enforcement agencies.

This accomplishment was a team effort by the entire Department, beginning in April of 2012.  Gaining accreditation consisted of;  acceptance into the accreditation program, building the infrastructure to support accreditation with updated police equipment & vehicles, implementation of sound policies & procedures, building the required standards into practice, demonstrating compliance for a specified period of time, and passing a rigorous three day, on-site inspection.  The on-site inspection is a very formal process which is conducted by an assessment team with extensive backgrounds in law enforcement and knowledge of best practices.  The assessment team spends three days on-site, reviewing every policy and standard and verifying through supporting documentation that the standards are followed as written.  Additionally, team members randomly interview officers regarding policies and procedures, inspect uniforms and appearances, ride-along with officers to witness how they perform their duties, and further verify that the agency is upholding all of the principles set forth by state accreditation.

The New York State Accreditation program, which began in 1989, has received national recognition to the point that many other state’s law enforcement accreditation programs were modeled after this particular program.  The wide-ranging goal for state accreditation is to “provide law enforcement agencies with a mechanism with which to evaluate and improve the overall effectiveness of their agency and the performance of their staff, while giving formal recognition to agencies that meet or exceed general expectations of quality in the law enforcement field.”   Additionally, accreditation ensures that police agencies are effective, that they work together with other criminal justice agencies, and that they promote public confidence through the manner in which they perform their duties.

As much as this is a major historical achievement for the City of Oneonta Police Department, we will still continue to evolve and progress as an agency.  This includes staying current with emerging trends, utilizing best practices, exploring new technologies to enhance our capabilities, and further developing  all members through continual in-service training.   As a state accredited police agency, the Oneonta Police Department will always look for the best ways to serve our community while staying true to the noble ideals of the law enforcement profession.

Learn more about the New York State Accreditation program.