At its January 30, 2003, meeting, the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission awarded the James City County Police Department a Certificate of Accreditation for its success in complying with over 200 mandated standards. The police department joins a list of only 43 State law enforcement agencies that have achieved accredited status out of a total of more than 400 eligible agencies.
On hand at the meeting to receive the award, which was held at the New Kent County Courthouse, were Police Chief David A. Daigneault and the department's Accreditation Team. The team is comprised of the Accreditation Manager, Major Emmett Harmon (Uniform Division), Terry Hutchens (Property/Evidence Control), Jeff Hicklin (Planning and Analysis), and Deputy Chief Ken Middlebrook (Investigations).
This award culminates the efforts that started more than 2 years ago when Chief Daigneault decided the department should pursue this important certification and established an Accreditation Team to achieve this goal. The accreditation process requires police agencies to prove compliance in a multitude of areas that touch on all aspects of police work, including everything from personnel, training, equipment, criminal and traffic arrests, to record keeping and budgets.
A separate file must be set up for all 215 standards with multiple proofs of compliance contained in each. The final test is a 4-day examination of the police department carried out by State-trained assessors selected by the Commission. This examination was held on January 12-15 and was conducted by Gary Harmon of the Radford Police Department (Assessment Team Leader), Roberta Dean of the Richmond Police Department and Robert Wash of the Norfolk Sheriff's Office.
The Department and the Accreditation Team did their work so well that the Assessment Team finished their review a full day and a half early. In their exit interview with the Chief, Team Leader Gary Harmon remarked that, "The James City County Police Department is a credit to every police agency in the State." They were very impressed with the professionalism of the personnel and the department as a whole, and expressed on more than 1 occasion how friendly they found the atmosphere surrounding the department. "Everyone really seems to enjoy working here," said Assessor Roberta Dean. The assessors were particularly impressed with the professionalism and equipment of the SWAT Team, and also with how meticulous and well-organized the department's Property and Evidence section were.
In his final report to the Commission on January 30, Gary Harmon advised that it was the unanimous decision of the Assessment Team that the James City County Police Department receives accredited status.