KNIGHTDALE — Town leaders are considering plans to hire a full-time employee to help the police department manage their accreditation efforts.
Starting Nov. 1, Knightdale Police will be operating with a reorganized internal structure meant to make the force more efficient in handling cases, accreditation and day-to-day operations.
Police Chief Jason Godwin told the Knightdale Public Safety committee the police force will be organized into two groups: operations, which will be patrol and investigative work, and support services.
As chief, Godwin would handle professional standards, career development and accreditation until an accreditation manager is hired.
Originally, the town was looking to fill the position at the beginning of next fiscal year in July, but Godwin and council member Jeff Eddins, chair of the Public Safety Committee, have discussed moving more quickly to find the manager.
Change of plans
At the council’s retreat in February, Godwin and Town Manager Seth Lawless told council members they expect to need a full-time employee to handle accreditation matters. At that time, Godwin said the position would be for the next fiscal year.
Godwin suggested using extra funds the department has to fill the position in January to get them acclimated to dealing with accreditation , specifically from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA).
Godwin’s current proposal, which has to be OK’d by several committees and the town council, would use about $12,600 out of the current budget.
Knightdale police have $49,000 in their drug fund, money from anti-drug operations and drug seizures. They’ve budgeted $15,000 of that already and Godwin said the department is looking to use $20,000 from that fund to purchase a car for the accreditation manager position. Money from the drug fund cannot be used for salaries.
Investing in accreditation
The push to create the accreditation manager position and fill it by the beginning of 2014 comes from the financial investment the police department has already made in their CALEA accreditationefforts, which began in February when Godwin brought it to the council to be approved.
CALEA is an international accreditation board that has a five-step accreditation process. Part of enrollment requires agencies to pay a fee based on what program they want accredited and how many employees are part of that program.
CALEA charges $10,100 to complete the process for 25-199 employees, the category Knightdale falls under with 38 employees in the police department.
After enrolling, agencies are given 24 or 36 months to complete a self-assessment. Knightdale has 36 months to complete theirs and is almost four months into the process.
If the town waits until the next fiscal year to hire the employee, they have lost almost a year of the three years allowed to complete the second step, Eddins pointed out at a Public Safety Committee meeting last week.
This part of the accreditation requires the most work of the department and this is when having an accreditation manager would help, Godwin said.
CALEA requires ‘proofs,’ which are paper trails that demonstrate how agencies are fulfilling the standards they base their evaluations on.
“If they require a certain policy, you have to show that policy and show evidence you’re following that policy,” Godwin said.
CALEA looks at an agency’s operations, such as patrolling, and considers internal factors, like personnel management. They have 188 standards they use to certify agencies.
In the Triangle, Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville and Clayton are all CALEA-certified.
Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews