U. of C. police gain accreditation

Even as the University of Chicago Police Department’s presence expands in Hyde Park, a national accreditation agency has given the private police force new credentials. Above: UCPD’s new 53rd Street station. Owen M. Lawson III

Even as the University of Chicago Police Department’s presence expands in Hyde Park, a national accreditation agency has given the private police force new credentials. Above: UCPD’s new 53rd Street station.

-Owen Lawson III

By LINDSAY WELBERS
Staff Writer

The University of Chicago Police Department was awarded professional accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

UCPD was given Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation, the higher of the agency’s two tiers. UCPD was formally recognized at CALEA’s July 26 conference.

UCPD said it is the first private university police department in the Midwest to achieve the standard.

There are 482 total CALEA standards that UCPD will be required to meet, addressing every aspect of policing.

CALEA accreditation requires UCPD to “develop a comprehensive, well-thought-out, uniform set of written directives.” It also requires that UCPD “provide necessary reports and analyses a CEO needs to make fact-based, informed management decisions.”

UCPD will be required to put in place a preparedness program “so an agency is ready to address natural or man-made unusual occurrences.”

Auditors on campus in April examined all aspects of UCPD’s operations.

In a statement UCPD said the auditor’s final report read: “the assessment team found the agency to be a progressive and motivated police department with a genuine devotion to the diverse community that they serve. The rapid and impressive transformation into a full-service police department necessary to pursue the commitment to law enforcement accreditation is demonstrative of an agency with excellent leadership and competent supervision.”

Over 30 University of Chicago students spoke at a public hearing before the auditors in April, alleging UCPD has problems with race and transparency.

Several students pointed to the fact that the public meeting was not announced until Friday of finals week, when many students were traveling or mired in exams. The meeting was held the Wednesday following spring break.

Other students complained that UCPD is not transparent and despite having full police powers it is not required to release its records.

CALEA accreditation lasts three years. UCPD will have to submit annual reports documenting compliance with CALEA standards.

l.welbers@hpherald.com