left to right: Sylvester Daughtry, Jr., executive director of CALEA; representing Drexel Public Safety are Joseph Spera, director of Operations; Edward Spangler, chief of Police; Stratis Skoufalos, Training & Accreditation manager; and Louis M. Dekmar, chairman of CALEA
Three years after its first officers were deployed, the Drexel University Police Department (DUPD) has earned accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), becoming one of only 10 law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania and one of 53 colleges and universities nationwide to receive the prestigious recognition of public safety professional excellence.
The Drexel University Public Safety Communications Center (DUPSCC) has also achieved CALEA accreditation. Drexel is now the only university in the world with both an accredited law enforcement agency and an accredited dedicated communications center, and the DUPSCC is one of only two accredited communications centers in Pennsylvania.
"This accreditation affirms what the Drexel community already knows about our Drexel Police: that they provide consistently excellent public safety services to all who live, learn and work here," said Drexel University President John A. Fry. "Having a fully accredited police force and communications center to serve Drexel's campuses and surrounding neighborhoods is a huge step along our path to becoming one of the most safe and desirable urban campuses in America. I am truly proud at what our talented professionals from the Drexel University Police Department have accomplished."
Representatives from Drexel Public Safety attended CALEA’s fall conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., to meet with CALEA commissioners and receive accreditation at the awards banquet on November 19.
“Achieving CALEA accreditation for the newly formed Drexel University Police Department and new state of the art Communications Center validates the University’s unwavering commitment to achieving professional excellence,” said Domenic Ceccanecchio, senior associate vice president for Drexel Public Safety. “CALEA accreditation has provided multiple benefits by guiding us through progressive development, ensuring our operational proficiency, maximizing our organizational efficiency, and inspiring public confidence and credibility.”
The DUPD was officially designated as a criminal justice agency in July 2008, at which time the DUPSCC began transitioning from a security-based communications center to one capable of responding to calls for police service. While the accreditation process can take up to three years, on-site assessments of the DUPD and the DUPSCC were conducted less than two years after contracts with CALEA were signed in June 2009.
“When we set out to establish the Drexel University Police Department in 2008, our goal was to develop a dedicated, professional, fully recognized law enforcement agency that would deliver the highest level of service to our community through best practices and cutting edge technology,” said James R. Tucker, senior vice president for Student Life and Administrative Services. “This recognition from CALEA shows that Domenic and his team have turned that goal into a reality.”
To earn CALEA accreditation, Drexel Public Safety created and implemented comprehensive procedural policies required to meet 462 standards for law enforcement and 218 standards for communications. The DUPD and DUPSCC conducted trainings and mock assessments to prepare for CALEA’s on-site assessment, which took place over a four-day period in June 2011. The CALEA assessment team reviewed written policies and procedures, conducted interviews and toured and inspected Public Safety facilities. In its report to the full commission, the assessment team concluded that Drexel was in full compliance with all mandatory standards for a law enforcement agency and communications center.
"At SOC we commend proactive steps to embrace the spirit of the Jeanne Clery Act," said Alison Kiss, executive director of Security On Campus, Inc. "The focus that Drexel University police and public safety put on their communication system demonstrates an on-going commitment to student safety. We congratulate them on receiving the first college CALEA accreditation for their state of the art communication center."
CALEA was established as a credentialing authority in 1979 through the joint efforts of law enforcement's major executive associations: the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the Police Executive Research Forum. As independent, nonprofit organization, CALEA’s goals are to improve the delivery of public safety services by developing and maintaining a body of standards, establishing and administering an accreditation process for law enforcement agencies, and recognizing professional excellence in public safety.
Worldwide, CALEA has accredited more than 608 law enforcement agencies and 66 law enforcement communication centers to date, including Drexel. Accreditation lasts for three years. During that time, agencies must submit annual reports detailing their continued compliance with the standards under which they were initially accredited.
Drexel Public Safety was recently ranked No. 6 in the nation among colleges and universities by Security Magazine’s Security 500 Rankings.