CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Clarksville Police Department has earned its fourth consecutive seal of approval from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, a leading credentialing body dedicated to developing and maintaining law enforcement standards.
CALEA accreditation is a rigorous process designed to strengthen accountability, both within the agency and the community, by meeting high standards that clearly define police authority, performance and responsibilities.
“This is another great achievement for the Clarksville Police Department,” Mayor Joe Pitts said. “It means that we have put in place high standards for performance and conduct, stood for a tough examination by an independent group of experts, and once again received high marks for excellence.”
Police Chief David Crockarell met Thursday with CALEA Commissioners via an online conference to review the department’s 2020 Assessment Report. At the conclusion of the session, Commissioners voted unanimously to re-accredit the Clarksville Police Department.
“During this time of heightened attention on police conduct -- as we’ve dealt with demonstrations, and appeared at a number of forums to explain our policies -- we have hung our hats on our CALEA accreditation” Chief Crockarell said. “We believe in accreditation, and it’s never been more important than it’s been in the last few weeks. This process shows our level of professionalism, and it gives us the proof. We have the policy documents, we have the demonstrated support of the community and its leaders, and now we have the body-worn camera footage.”
The Honorable Jean H. Toal, CALEA Commissioner and retired Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, led the review meeting. She noted that CPD was in compliance with all 316 mandatory standards, and had complied with 88 percent of applicable other-than-mandatory standards.
“That’s really a grand record,” Toal said. “And it’s important to note that your department’s reported Use of Force over this review period has gone down significantly. You’ve really made progress in using other methods to improve your policing.”
In 2010, the Clarksville Police Department received its initial CALEA accreditation, achieving a goal set by Chief Al Ansley when he took command in 2007. Chief Crockarell, who was sworn in July 30, following Ansley’s retirement, was quick to credit Ansley for the department’s third successful re-accreditation.
“Chief Ansley isn’t with us, but he knows today’s the day, and I know he is proud of this,” Crockarell told the Commissioners. “Everything we mention here comes from the foundation he put in place for me and my team to make this department even better than when he left it.”
Crockarell also praised the work of Police Sgt. Charles Gill, the department’s accreditation manager. “Chuck has been the backbone of this process since it started in 2007,” he said.
CALEA accreditation involves an outside autonomous agency that establishes best-practice standards for departments, and then ensures the agency is following those standards by conducting a comprehensive assessment. Public safety agencies voluntarily seek accreditation and enter a three-year period of self-assessment, followed by policy development and revisions, evaluation of internal processes, and the collection of documentation. At the end of the self-assessment period, if the agency meets the rigorous, third-party review by CALEA, the agency is awarded CALEA accreditation and then begins an annual agency review cycle in order to maintain its accredited status.
In May of 2020, the CALEA assessment team performed an unprecedented non-site based assessment by video conferencing and not a physical visit to the department because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
The assessment team conducted 24 interviews with personnel in the department, Mayor Pitts, the 911 Center Director, and two members of the community. Calls also were received during a Public Information Session.
Mayor Joe Pitts, left, Clarksville Police Sgt. Charles Gil, the department’s accreditation manager, and Police Chief David Crockarell gathered to celebrate the department’s reaccreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.