South Jordan Police Receive Accreditation from Utah Association of Chiefs of PoliceOct 07, 2015 09:57AM ● By Bryan Scott
By James Luke
South Jordan Police Department is now one of only a handful of police departments in the state of Utah to be accredited by the Utah Association of Chiefs of Police. In a ceremony at the Aug. 18 city council meeting, Tom Ross, president of the UACP, presented a plaque formally recognizing the work of the department in completing the accreditation process.
Retired Chief Lindsay Shepherd attended the presentation to receive recognition for his work in overseeing the process of accreditation, which spanned two years back to 2013. New Police Chief Jeff Carr, as well as Deputy Chief Jason Knight, Lt. Robert Hansen and many others from the department who have been involved in the accreditation process also attended the ceremony to accept the recognition.
“It is a very meticulous process,” explained Master Officer Kevin Tingey as he thumbed through a wide file drawer in a mostly unused small office in the basement of South Jordan City Hall, the headquarters of the city’s police department. The file drawer, full end-to-end with dark brown hanging file folders that he and others in the department have filled, represents the work involved in achieving accreditation.
Each folder contains a unique document from the department’s records. It may be a note in a police report, a vehicle service record, an officer commendation or discipline, a photograph, or some other type of proof on paper to demonstrate that the South Jordan Police Department has actually complied with a particular department policy or procedure.
The audit at the conclusion of the accreditation procedure involves two assessors from the UACP who come to the department to review department records and certify compliance with all standards. Accreditation gives law enforcement agencies in Utah a means to demonstrate compliance with accepted standards.
First, though, the documentation must be meticulously tracked down in department records, collected into individual file folders on each standard involved in accreditation, and organized for the auditors’ review. This is where Officer Tingey, as well as his predecessor in the position, Sergeant Allen Crist, and many others in the department have come in to the process.
The department saw the fruition of all the work of the past two years to assemble the paperwork to establish consistent and correct application of department policies.
“Law enforcement executives who choose to have their agencies accredited under this program will have all aspects of their operations examined,” noted the UACP in explaining the accreditation program on its website. The association goes on to explain that the program is not intended to rate one department over another one, “but rather to examine each agency’s policies to insure important areas are addressed.”
Lt. Robert Hansen, SJPD, explained the stress of the process on a police department plainly when he notes that “it’s really having someone come in and open your drawers. And a lot of agencies won’t do that.”
In the case of South Jordan Police Department, Hansen noted, former Chief Shepherd “had the forethought to say ‘we’re doing the right things the right ways, come in and check us out.’”
South Jordan Police Department has recently replaced its reliance on a physical manual of more than 300 pages with a continuously updated online policy guide. The computer policy manual, which comes from a company called LEXIPRO, alerts the department if a new decision from the Supreme Court or a new regulation from the state legislature, for example, dictates a policy change.
“Most agencies have gone to LEXIPRO,” Hansen noted, explaining the online service. “The reason is, because it updates frequently,” so that the department remains current on changes in the law or policy. He pointed to recent changes in rules regarding body cameras as an example of the need for the online service that updates regularly with changes in the law.