Cleveland becomes 1st accredited PD in Delta; 19th in state
by Rory Doyle
Feb 27, 2013 | 2295 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bob Morgan (left), alliance manager with the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission, announces the Cleveland Police Department's successful campaign to receive accreditation from the state. Morgan presented the news at a press conference Tuesday to Chief Buster Bingham (right), along with Cpt. Mike McCain (second to left), Alderman Danny Abraham, who is on the police commission, and Mayor Billy Nowell.
Bob Morgan (left), alliance manager with the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission, announces the Cleveland Police Department's successful campaign to receive accreditation from the state. Morgan presented the news at a press conference Tuesday to Chief Buster Bingham (right), along with Cpt. Mike McCain (second to left), Alderman Danny Abraham, who is on the police commission, and Mayor Billy Nowell.
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After years of preparation and commitment, Chief Buster Bingham and the Cleveland Police Department have reached the prestigious goal of accreditation for the first time.

The significant announcement came Tuesday at a press conference held at the Cleveland Police station.

Cleveland now becomes just the 19th of 253 statewide police departments to hold the status and the first in the Delta.

The Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission recognizes the endorsement at the state level and partners nationally with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.

Because of the partnership with CALEA, the Cleveland Police Department also receives national recognition for the accreditation.

"This means a lot to the department and the community," said Bingham. "This gives us an ability to grow as a department and a greater ability to monitor ourselves.

"Now the community will have a better sense of what we do. It's an all around good thing for everybody."

The requirements in the process provide norms against which department performance can be measured and checked over time.

The tedious preparation involved passing 123 best practice standards that must be met and documented in the two-year application stage.

The department must uphold required policies, trainings and documentation, and will undergo examination every three years to maintain its status.

"The Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission doesn't tell us how to operate but it does set guidelines that will make us more proficient and effective," said Bingham. "We must meet the standards and prove that we met those standards."

Accreditation also serves as a yardstick to measure the effectiveness of the agency's programs and services and it streamlines operations, providing more consistency and more effective deployment of agency manpower.

The police will now have a greater ability to prevent and control crime because accreditation enhances the community understanding of the department as well as its goals and objectives.

Bob Morgan, alliance manager with the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission, presented Bingham with a certificate and letter at the press conference.

Morgan agreed that this would boost community safety significantly.

"One of the biggest assets of accreditation is that it shows the citizens of Cleveland that the police department is transparent, to the point where they don't mind a state agency coming in to review them to see if they are meeting best practices."

Morgan said the department would also benefit from a liability standpoint.

"Another asset of accreditation is that it reduces liability," he said. "Frivolous lawsuits all over the nation are reduced by accreditation."

Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell said Bingham's dedication to the certification would be a big plus for the city.

"Buster has been working a long time to get us this status," said Nowell. "I'm proud of all his hard work."

Morgan stressed the effort was made possible by resilient cooperation from the department and city officials.

"It takes a very large commitment from not only the chief but also city administration — also the support of personnel and officers on the department," said Morgan.

Bingham has a sense of relief after years of working toward the status.

"It feels wonderful. There was a lot of paperwork and burning of the midnight oil," Bingham said. "It took a lot of physical changes to the department too. It helps in a lot of ways."

Bingham will travel to Charleston, S.C. at the end of March to receive the national recognition from CALEA.