Lake City Police Department aiming for accreditation - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Lake City Police Department aiming for accreditation

LAKE CITY, SC (WMBF) - As communities celebrated Law Enforcement Appreciation Day on Friday, the Lake City Police Department was working hard behind closed doors to continue to improve itself for its citizens.

"Anytime we can do things to increase police presence and the police's training and their ability to recognize situations before they happen, that just helps to make our families safer," said Jason Springs, Lake City resident and Florence County councilman for District 1.

The Lake City Police Department is trying to become part of the selective group of accredited law enforcement agencies by applying to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA.

"I guess it is like a check and balances with the community," said Capt. John Kelly, of the Lake City Police Department. "They would know that we are keeping a check on our police officers as far as training, all the qualifications and certifications."

Accreditation can also help the police department secure more funding.

"It would help us get more police officers, more equipment, more patrol cars on the street along with police officers, so it'll be a win, win for everybody," Capt. Kelly said.

To apply for accreditation with CALEA, the Lake City Police Department will have to develop a set of standards and directives for everything from use of force to department promotions and demotions, Capt. Kelly said.

"It would also let the community know that we expect nothing but the best from our police officers and we'll have the best working for them," he said.

The accreditation process begins with enrollment and self assessment then CALEA will send a representative to Lake City for an on-site assessment before a committee decides whether or not to approve accreditation.

The accreditation process could take more than a year and then the police department would have to submit a report every year after to maintain it.

"We're trying this time. Hopefully we get it, get certified," Capt. Kelly said. "Even if we don't, it'll at least allow us to learn what we can do next time to meet the qualifications."

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