HAZARD – Following several months of sifting through records, policies, and evidentiary procedures, the Hazard Police Department has earned its second five-year accreditation from the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police.
Hazard Police Chief Minor Allen informed the city commission about the department’s accreditation status during the commission’s regular meeting on Monday. There are more than 400 law enforcement agencies statewide, and Hazard’s police department is one of 67 to achieve at least its second five-year accreditation.
“That put us well within the top percentage of the agencies in Kentucky,” Allen said.
Law enforcement agencies are not required to seek accreditation, but Allen noted it ensures the department is up-to-date on its policies and procedures, and that personnel are current with any changes in the law that may have taken place since the last accreditation.
Though the department’s initial accreditation five years ago put into place a wide set of policies, Allen said officers reviewed each one, such as use of force, and in this case wrote a new policy that governs the department’s safety officers, something HPD did not have five years ago.
“It’s just something to say that we’re going to live by these standards, this is the way we’re going to police, and it’s really a transparency type thing,” Allen said. “Anybody can look at your policy. We have them all online on our website.”
HPD officers began the process of reaccreditation in the fall of 2012. In addition to a review of policies, that process also included evaluating the department’s records and evidence. HPD personnel put in a lot of hours, Allen noted, and it’s a process he hopes the department will continue to undergo even after his time as the chief is over.
“I appreciate the hard work of all the officers in my department that really came to task on this and got the job done,” he said. “As long as we maintain the standards we have on the way we hire officers and how we’re going to police, we need to keep maintaining this kind of status.”