MUPD receives high praise during accreditation meeting

The department is seeking its fourth accreditation.
CALEA assessor Mark Balazik (left) and chief assessor Gregory King open a meeting for public comment on MUPD compliance with the commission's standards. The assessment team will remain on campus through Aug. 4 to evaluate the department in person, and the commission will decide whether to formally re-accredit the department in November.

Students and faculty praised the MU Police Department during a meeting for public comment as part of the department’s reaccreditation process.

MUPD is seeking its fourth accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. CALEA has 463 standards for management and policing operations, of which MUPD must meet 357, MUPD Capt. Brian Weimer said.

The department first received CALEA accreditation in March 2001 and was reaccredited in March 2004 and November 2006.

Missouri Students Association President Jordan Paul said MUPD had assisted MSA in its efforts to install more emergency telephones around campus and surveillance cameras in university parking garages. He also praised the department for sending officers to accompany students and faculty during the annual Greektown Safety Walk.

“Chief Watring and MUPD have always been very accommodating,” Paul said. “It’s been very helpful for us to have them on the walks because we aren’t trained as police officers and don’t always know what to look for.”

Director of Residential Life Frankie Minor said MUPD is the best campus police department he has ever worked with and the department does a good job in dealing with incidents involving the more than 7,300 students and 450 families that are the responsibility of Residential Life.

“One of the things we’ve been able to count on, year after year, is their professionalism,” Minor said.

CALEA chief assessor Greg King and assessor Mark Balazik arrived in Columbia on Saturday. King is the police chief at California State University, Los Angeles, and Balazik is the chief of the Department of Public Safety at Georgetown University.

Sunday, the team fielded calls from people who wished to comment on the process but would be unavailable for Monday’s meeting.

King said the team had received one phone call during the comment period. He said the comments in that call would be shared with the committee but not re-read at the meeting.

“Some people would rather, obviously, talk to us privately,” King said. “But this one was in support of the agency.”

King and Balazik will stay in Columbia until Tuesday to evaluate the department’s records and operating procedures, and will tell MUPD whether they plan to recommend reaccreditation before they depart. The two will issue a draft report in mid-October of their findings and recommendation.

CALEA’s 21 commissioners will meet in Salt Lake City on Nov. 21 to review the team’s on-site review report. Representatives from MUPD must attend a review committee hearing where CALEA will decide whether to reaccredit the department.

Both King and Weimer were quick to stress the meeting had not intentionally been scheduled for a day when most MU students are home for the summer, but rather it was a date that worked best for CALEA and MUPD. King said the police department usually requests a month and CALEA schedules the visits and meetings based on the availability of its teams, which evaluate many agencies.

King said the timing of the meeting emphasized the importance of CALEA having both postal and e-mail addresses for students to send in comments about the accreditation process.

“The hope is that there will be open lines of communication between the agency and the service community,” King said.

Students can contact CALEA either by e-mail at calea@calea.org or by writing to The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies at 10302 Eaton Place, Suite 100 in Fairfax, VA 22030.

Weimer said students could also comment on the process directly to the department.

“If someone has problems, issues or would like to provide positive feedback, they can call me or go online 365 days a year,” Weimer said.

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