HILLSBOROUGH: Police department accredited for third consecutive term

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Harry Delgado

Andrew Martins, Managing Editor
Law enforcement in Hillsborough Township recently found itself in rarefied air, as state and local officials touted the Hillsborough Township Police Department’s successful reaccreditation bid with the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.
During the July 11 township committee meeting, Harry Delgado, accreditation program manager for the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, commended the police department for what he said was a “truly remarkable” accomplishment.
“The HTPD is a highly professional and committed agency which exemplifies all of the tenets of law enforcement accreditation,” Delgado said.
The Hillsborough Police Department officially achieved its second consecutive reaccredited status on June 8.
The state of New Jersey has 550 law enforcement agencies, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics’ 2008 Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies. Included in that list are state, county and municipal agencies. It also includes the safety personnel that work throughout the state’s various universities and public parks, among others.
Of those agencies, Delgado said approximately 182 agencies have achieved accreditation, with even fewer having retained their accredited status after the initial three year period.
“There have been about 34 percent [of police departments in the state] that make the initial accreditation. That number drops to about 8 percent for those that go on to retain accreditation,” he said. “In the case of the Hillsborough Police Department, this is their second accreditation, so they are falling into a very elite group of agencies – less than 1 percent in the state of New Jersey.”
According to the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, accreditation is a way to help law enforcement agencies quantify how their overall performance. It does that by adopting a set of standards that are “conceptually sound and operationally effective.”
In order to achieve an accredited status, law enforcement agencies have to meet or exceed over 100 different standards.
Areas examined included: police role and authority; organization and administration; direction; distribution of personnel; fiscal management; disciplinary procedures; recruitment and selection; training and career development; promotion processes; patrol operations; criminal investigations, juvenile operations; detainee processing and detention; internal affairs; public information; traffic operations; communication operations; police records; collection and preservation of evidence; and property and evidence control.
Recognizing the inherent benefits of accreditation for local law enforcement, Hillsborough Township Police Chief Darren Powell said it was paramount that the department retain its status.
“Accreditation results in greater accountability within the agency, reduced risk and liability exposure, stronger defense against civil lawsuits, increased community advocacy, and more confidence in the agency’s ability to operate efficiently and respond to community needs,” Powell said.
As a liaison to the police department, Committeeman Frank DelCore said the accomplishment was the product of good policing in Hillsborough.
“It’s nice to get validation of the things that we’re trying to implement in town,” he said.
In related news, township officials announced that Hillsborough was again ranked among the top 30 “safest cities to raise a child” in America by security organization SafeWise.
Hillsborough ranked 22nd overall in the June 26 report.
“We are pleased to be recognized once again by SafeWise,” Powell said. “This recognition is a direct result of the professional and proactive police work by all the fine men and women in the department that are committed to serve our residents.”
According to officials, the annual report by SafeWise is compiled by reviewing the reported sex offender concentration, state graduation rates, overall school quality ranking and FBI violent crime data. The group also eliminated all cities with fewer than 10,000 residents and those communities that did not report complete crime numbers to the FBI.