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, may do so through a short telephone call to the assessment team Dec. 16.
The Lawrence Township Police Department gained its initial accreditation in 2017. It was renewed in 2019. Accreditation is valid for three years, which means the Police Department is up for reaccreditation.
During its onsite visit to the Lawrence Township Police Department, the assessment team will listen to comments from employees and the public between 10-11 a.m. Dec. 16. Telephone comments are limited to five minutes. Callers may contact the team at 609-844-7134.
Telephone comments and written comments must address the Lawrence Township Police Department’s ability to comply with New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police standards. Information about the standards is available by contacting Lt. Michael Whitmore at 609-844-7104.
Those standards include administrative, personnel, operations standards and investigative functions, as well as arrestee/detainer/prisoner handling functions, officials said.
Emailed comments may be sent to Lt. Whitmore at firstname.lastname@example.org., or to Harry Delgado, the accreditation program director at the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, at hdelgado@njsacop.
Letters also may be mailed to the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission at 751 Route 73 North, Suite 12, Marlton, NJ 08053.
The assessment team is made up of law enforcement officers from similar 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 Lawrence Township Police Department, it will report to the full commission, which will decide whether the police department should be granted accredited status, Delgado said.
Verification by the team that the Lawrence Township Police Department meets the commission’s “best practice” standards is part of a voluntary process to achieve accreditation, said Police Chief Christopher Longo.
“Accreditation is a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence,” Longo said.
Accreditation results in greater accountability within the police department, reduced risk and liability exposure and stronger defense against civil lawsuits, he said.
“It also results in increased community advocacy, and more confidence in the police department’s ability to operate efficiently and respond to community needs,” Longo said.