Lawrence Twp. Police Department seeks renewal of accreditation

Scott Jacobs

Residents who want to weigh in on the Lawrence Township Police Department, which is seeking renewal of its accreditation by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP), may do so through a short telephone call to the assessment team on Oct. 20.

The Lawrence Township Police Department gained its initial accreditation in 2017.

Accreditation by NJSACOP is valid for three years, which means the Lawrence Township Police Department is up for reaccreditation.

During its on-site visit to the police department, the assessment team will listen to comments from employees and the public between 10-11 a.m. on Oct. 20. Callers may contact the team at 609-844-7102.

Telephone comments and written comments must address the police department’s ability to comply with NJSACOP standards. A copy of the standards is available at the Lawrence Township Police Department in the Lawrence Township Municipal Complex located at 2211 Lawrence Road.

The NJSACOP standards include administrative, personnel, operations standards and investigative functions, as well arrestee/detaineer/prisoner handling functions.

Emailed comments can be sent to police Lt. Timothy Drew at tdrew@lawrencetwp.com, or to Harry Delgado, the accreditation manager for NJSACOP, at hdelgado@njsacop.org. Letters may be sent to NJSACOP at 751 Route 73 N., Marlton, NJ 08053.

The assessment team is made up of law enforcement officers from similar New Jersey law enforcement agencies, Delgado said.

The assessors will review written material and interview police department employees. They will visit offices and other places where compliance with the standards can be observed, Delgado said.

Once the assessment team completes its review of the police department, it will report to the full commission, which will decide whether the police department should be granted accredited status, he said.

“Verification by the assessment team that the Lawrence Township Police Department meets the commission’s ‘best practices’ standards is part of a voluntary process to achieve accreditation,” Lawrence Township Police Chief Brian Caloiaro said.

Accreditation is an acknowledgment of law enforcement professional excellence.

Accreditation results in greater accountability within the police department, reduced risk and liability exposure and a stronger defense against civil lawsuits, Caloiaro said.

“It also results in increased community advocacy and more confidence in the police department’s ability to operate efficiently and to respond to community needs,” Caloiaro said.