CALEA Division

Sgt. J. Haydon

Jon Haydon

Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., (CALEA®) was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of law enforcement's major executive associations:

  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP);
  • National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE);
  • National Sheriffs' Association (NSA); and the
  • Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).

The purpose of CALEA's Accreditation Program is to improve the delivery of public safety services, primarily by: maintaining a body of standards, developed by public safety practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives; establishing and administering an accreditation process; and recognizing professional excellence.

Specifically, CALEA’s goals are to:

  • Strengthen crime prevention and control capabilities;
  • Formalize essential management procedures;
  • Establish fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices;
  • Improve service delivery;
  • Solidify interagency cooperation and coordination; and
  • Increase community and staff confidence in the agency.

The CALEA Accreditation Process is a proven modern management model; once implemented, it presents the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), on a continuing basis, with a blueprint that promotes the efficient use of resources and improves service delivery—regardless of the size, geographic location, or functional responsibilities of the agency.

The Fayetteville Police Department has been an accredited law enforcement agency through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA) since 2012. The Fayetteville Police Department is in the fourth year of its current reaccreditation process. The CALEA standards require an annual public notice to its service community announcing the availability of the CALEA public access portal to allow for comment on the performance of the Fayetteville Police Department.

CALEA’s Standards for law enforcement agencies and its accreditation programs are recognized as benchmarks for professional law enforcement agencies. Accreditation is a means for developing or improving upon agency relationships with the community. Accreditation strengthens an agency’s accountability, both within the agency and the community, through a continuum of standards that clearly defines authority, performance and responsibility. Accreditation can limit an agency’s liability and risk exposure because it demonstrates that internationally accepted standards for law enforcement have been met and verified.

As part of the assessment process, agency employees and members of the community who want to make comments to CALEA regarding the agency’s compliance with CALEA standards, engagement in the Fayetteville community, or provide information to support improvement and foster the continued pursuit of professional excellence may visit the Accreditation Public Comment portal.

This accreditation program provides public safety agencies an opportunity to voluntarily demonstrate that they meet an established set of professional standards which:

  • Require an agency to develop a comprehensive, well thought out, uniform set of written directives. This is one of the most successful methods for reaching administrative and operational goals, while also providing direction to personnel.
  • Provide the necessary reports and analyses a CEO needs to make fact-based, informed management decisions.
  • Require a preparedness program be put in place—so an agency is ready to address natural or man-made critical incidents.
  • Are a means for developing or improving upon an agency's relationship with the community. 
  • Strengthen an agency's accountability, both within the agency and the community, through a continuum of standards that clearly define authority, performance, and responsibilities.
  • Can limit an agency's liability and risk exposure because it demonstrates that internationally recognized standards for law enforcement have been met, as verified by a team of independent outside CALEA-trained assessors.
  • Facilitates an agency's pursuit of professional excellence.

CALEA Structure

A Commission Board composed of 21 members governs CALEA. Eleven must be law enforcement practitioners; the balance is selected from the public and private sectors. Generally, they reflect a representation from local, state/provincial and international law enforcement and public safety organizations, along with business, academia, the judiciary, and state/provincial and local government. The Commissioners are appointed by the four founding law enforcement organizations, and serve without compensation.

CALEA operates as an independent, nonprofit (501[c]3) corporation, and maintains a professional staff managed by an Executive Director. The staff conducts all administrative and operational duties as directed by the Commission. CALEA publishes a monthly electronic newsletter, the CALEA E-Communique, and maintains a professional website. CALEA offers accreditation related training at each of it's conferences, as well as presentations on current issues in public safety.