CSUN police department re-accredited

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The Department of Police Services building is located at the corner of Darby Street and Prairie Street. The department has been re-accredited by IACLEA. Sundial File Photo

The CSUN police department was re-accredited on Monday by a professional association committee that decided the enforcement agency is up to par with professional standards.

A team from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) visited campus and reviewed aspects of the police department on the week of March 20. The inspectors evaluated areas such as fiscal management, department policies, criminal investigation, organization of department and administration, staff procedures, and many more.

CSUN Police Capt. Scott G. Vanscoy and Chief Anne P. Glavin were at the forefront of preparing the department for the visit.

“Come check us out, we are ready for the challenge,” Glavin said.

There are 236 standards that CSUN police had to comply with to gain the seal of approval.

According to police officials, the team of assessors,  among other things, observed the department with detail by interviewing staff randomly, inspecting police cars for necessary tools to respond to emergency procedures and analyzing files.

“It is very detailed what we are supposed to do,” Glavin said. “How we achieve the standards is up to us.”

The last time IACLEA assessors paid a visit to CSUN was in 2008, when the enforcement agency was accredited for the first time. There were not any complaints or issues that were brought up by the team of assessors during that visit. Prior to the first accreditation, CSUN police ran as a pilot agency before they were granted recognition of professional standards.

The department goes through the process of reaccreditation every three years.

Glavin said that when the assessors came in 2008, they deemed the CSUN police department as “one of the best departments in the country.”

CSUN police is one out of four CSU police departments that are accredited. CSU Fullerton, Los Angeles, and San Francisco State University are also accredited.

When Glavin came to serve as the new CSUN police chief in 2002, she made it one of her goals to have the police department accredited to comply with professionalism.

Vanscoy said that before Glavin’s intention to boost professional standards, the police department was not as orderly or professional as it is today.

“Now, there is a culture change of how we do things around here,” Vanscoy said.

One of those changes was as practical as note taking and paperwork transactions. CSUN police has developed checklists to help officers ask for specifics in any case. They also carry resource kits for victims of sexual assault or any other types of crime.

Police officials said accreditation provides CSUN police professional recognition, helps with liability, outside recruitment, and resources such as lectures and conferences.

The accreditation and assessment fees for the IACLEA program are allocated from the police department’s budget of $1.7 million. The fees are paid through installments rather than one large sum.

According to the IACLEA website, the application fee is $350, each assessor is paid $1,000 and the team leader is paid $2,000. The accreditation fee depends on the number full-time employees in the police department, which can cost from about $4,900 to $7,200.

“It has been a long road (in preparing for this),” said Vanscoy, who has been arranging paperwork and files since several months ago.

Police officials said it is important what the community thinks.

Glavin said the CSUN community has responded in approval to the police department’s professionalism.

“I hear compliments from the CSUN community,” Glavin said. “That is a nice place to be.”

Students, like Hana Brown, 21, said accreditation is not a major factor for campus safety.

“Does it really matter?” the communications major said. “It would be the same thing (if they were not accreditated).”

However, Mayra Castaneda, 20, who used to live in the dorms, said an accreditation program is a good way to keep “a watch dog on the police.”

“It’s very important,” Castaneda said. “Everyone should be on their toes.”