City of Somerville, MA - Somerville Police Department
Assessment for Accreditation
Chief Charles Femino is pleased to announce that The Somerville Police Department (SPD) is due for an assessment for its 1st re-accreditation by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC). This assessment is for the department’s third award. The department was first awarded State Certification in May, 2017. Our second award was for full accreditation in June, 2019.
As of July 1, 2021, there are over 430 police agencies in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Of those, only 227 agencies (e.g., police departments and universities) have elected to participat in the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC) program at various levels of certification. Accreditation has only been achieved by 98 agencies, which includes the Somerville Police Department (SPD); 16 agencies are certified; and 113 agencies are self-assessed. In order for the SPD to be recognized as a Re-Accredited Agency, the SPD has requested an on-site accreditation assessment by the MPAC. A team of assessors from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission is scheduled to arrive on January 25th, 2022, to begin a rigourous three-day assessment, examining various aspects of the Somerville Police Department’s policies procedures, rules, regulations, operations and facilities.
Verification by the Assessment Team that the Department meets the Commission’s standards is part of a voluntary process to gain state Accreditation -- a self-initiated evaluation process by which police departments strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established for the profession, by the profession.
The Massachusetts Police Accreditation Program consists of 257 mandatory standards as well as 125 optional standards. In order to achieve accreditation status, the Department must meet all applicable mandatory standards as well as 70% or 88 of the 125 optional standards. These standards reflect critical areas of police management, operations, and technical support activities. They cover areas such as policy development, emergency response planning, training, communications, property and evidence handling, use of force, vehicular pursuit, prisoner transportation, and holding facilities. The program not only sets standards for the law enforcement profession, but also for the delivery of police services to citizens of the commonwealth.
The standards for accreditation impact officer and public safety, address high liability/risk management issues, and generally promote operational efficiency throughout the agency.The standards for accreditation impact officer and public safety, address high liability/risk management issues, and generally promote operational efficiency throughout the agency.
Accreditation is important because it:
• provides a standard for an agency to judge its performance;
• provides a basis to correct deficiencies before they become public problems;
• requires agencies to commit policies and procedures to writing;
• promotes accountability among agency personnel and the evenhanded application of policies;
• provides a means of independent evaluation of agency operations;
• enhances the agency’s reputation and increases public confidence;
The SPD shares MPACs philosophy that agency preparedness begins with having a current written directive system that incorporates best business practices into agency policies and operational plans. Police Certification and Accreditation serve to reassure the general public that the law enforcement profession is trained, prepared and ready to handle routine calls for service as well as large scale emergencies. The SPD is committed to the accreditation process and looks forward to the upcoming evaluation.
Achieving Accreditation is a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence. Anyone interested in learning more about this program is invited to call (Chief Femino or the Department’s Accreditation Manager Sergeant Michael McCarey).