Ga. Pied­mont’s law en­force­ment academy gets reac­cred­i­ta­tion again

The Covington News - - EDUCATION - STAFF RE­PORTS news@cov­

Ge­or­gia Pied­mont Tech­ni­cal Col­lege Law En­force­ment Academy (GPTCLEA) achieves its first reac­cred­i­ta­tion from the Com­mis­sion on Ac­cred­i­ta­tion for Law En­force­ment Agen­cies (CALEA). In 2014 GPTCLEA be­came the first law en­force­ment train­ing academy in the State of Ge­or­gia to at­tain an In­ter­na­tional ac­cred­i­ta­tion from CALEA.

On July 29 in Prov­i­dence, Rhode Is­land, CALEA granted the Law En­force­ment Academy their first reac­cred­i­ta­tion. GPTCLEA con­tin­ues to be the only train­ing academy in the State that holds a CALEA ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Di­rec­tor of GPTCLEA Ma­jor Harry McCann, this is a sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment.

“It shows that we are do­ing what our poli­cies and pro­ce­dures say we should be do­ing when it comes to the best prac­tices of run­ning a law en­force­ment academy,” he said.

In Jan­uary 2009, Ge­or­gia Pied­mont Tech­ni­cal Col­lege (GPTC), known at the time as DeKalb Tech­ni­cal Col­lege, be­gan its first Law En­force­ment Academy (LEA) class as part of a pi­lot pro­gram with five other tech­ni­cal col­leges. This pro­gram was an agree­ment be­tween the Tech­ni­cal Col­lege Sys­tem of Ge­or­gia and the Peace Of­fi­cer Stan­dards and Train­ing Coun­cil (POST).

The idea was to raise the train­ing stan­dards for new of­fi­cers com­ing into the pro­fes­sion. The min­i­mum stan­dard for new of­fi­cers was a man­date class con­sist­ing of 408 hours of in­struc­tion.

The tech­ni­cal col­lege man­date was to go above and be­yond that min­i­mum by re­quir­ing 700 hours of train­ing. This train­ing not only in­cluded the tech­ni­cal side of polic­ing, but also fo­cused heav­ily on the academia/crit­i­cal think­ing as­pect. In 2011 POST placed the Tech­ni­cal Col­lege Acad­e­mies in a per­ma­nent sta­tus.

In 2012 the staff at GPTCLEA be­gan to fo­cus on rais­ing the stan­dard even higher. Steps were taken to have the GPTCLEA in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­cred­ited through CALEA. CALEA was started in 1979 and is con­sid­ered the gold stan­dard in pub­lic safety.

It was de­rived through the joint ef­fort of the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Chiefs of Po­lice (IACP), Na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Black Law En­force­ment Ex­ec­u­tives (NO­BLE), Na­tional Sher­iff’s As­so­ci­a­tion (NSA), and the Po­lice Ex­ec­u­tive Re­search Fo­rum (PERF). More in­for­ma­tion can be found at

In 2012 GPTCLEA be­gan cre­at­ing and re­align­ing poli­cies and pro­ce­dures that would meet CALEA stan­dards. In April of 2014 CALEA sent per­son­nel to eval­u­ate the poli­cies, pro­ce­dures and prac­tices of the Acad- emy to make sure they sup­ported those stan­dards. “Those stan­dards are ex­tremely im­por­tant as they rep­re­sent the best prac­tices that have been cre­ated at a na­tional level.” McCann said. “This is not just one per­son or even one ad­min­is­tra­tion that is dic­tat­ing how things should be done, but a na­tion­wide col­lab­o­ra­tion on how to do things the best way pos­si­ble.” He added.

To main­tain its ac­cred­i­ta­tion, GPTCLEA must un­dergo a rig­or­ous re­view and ap­proval process. CALEA sent an­other team of as­ses­sors in to New­ton County Ge­or­gia to re­assess. These as­ses­sors came from Mis­souri and New York and have no af­fil­i­a­tion with the Academy or any­one in the col­lege.

Their main goal is to de­ter­mine whether or not the Academy con­tin­ues to fol­low the rules and guide­lines that were set out by CALEA. They do this by sift­ing through files, ob­serv­ing in-progress ac­tiv­ity, tour­ing fa­cil­i­ties, and in­ter­view­ing stu­dents, grad­u­ates, in­struc­tors and depart­ment per­son­nel that have hired academy grad­u­ates.

On July 29, Ma­jor McCann and the Academy Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Man­ager Karen Carter, sat be­fore CALEA Com­mis­sion­ers in Prov­i­dence, Rhode Is­land, to an­swer ques­tions and pro­vide ex­pla­na­tions about op­er­a­tions at the Academy. There were ap­prox­i­mately 100 agen­cies in at­ten­dance that had made ap­pli­ca­tion for ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

These agen­cies sat be­fore five dif­fer­ent com­mit­tees, sep­a­rated by re­gions of the US and World, an­swer­ing ques­tions per­tain­ing to their law en­force­ment acad­e­mies ... Some agen­cies were rec­om­mended for ap­proval out­right, oth­ers had con­di­tions tied to the ac­cred­i­ta­tions.

How­ever, GPTCLEA had no is­sues dur­ing their on­site as­sess­ment in April, an­swered the Com­mit­tee’s ques­tions to their sat­is­fac­tion, and was ul­ti­mately awarded their first reac­cred­i­ta­tion.

“I am very proud of the job done by the in­struc­tors here at the Law En­force­ment Academy as well as Mrs. Carter as the ac­cred­i­ta­tion man­ager,” McCann said. “This is a com­pletely vol­un­tary process, but even so, it’s not easy to po­ten­tially have some­one come into your house and tell you that you are do­ing things wrong. Thank­fully that wasn’t the case.” McCann said. “We were given sug­ges­tions and ideas on how to make im­prove­ments on an al­ready ex­cel­lent pro­gram, how to con­tinue en­sur­ing the grad­u­ates from this Academy will con­tinue to be the best.” McCann added. “I live in this area. I want to know that grad­u­ates from this academy know how treat my com­mu­nity with re­spect and fair­ness.”

GPTCLEA runs three acad­e­mies a year start­ing in Jan­uary, May and Au­gust. For more in­for­ma­tion call 404-297-9522 ext. 5046.

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