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Stafford PD Receives “Accredited Law Enforcement Agency”

(STAFFORD) - The Stafford Police Department has received the award of “Accredited Law Enforcement Agency” from the Texas Police Chiefs Association Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. Begun in 2006, the Accreditation Program evaluates a police department’s compliance with more than 169 Best Business Practices for Texas Law Enforcement.

Stafford Police Chief Richard Ramirez says the process gives the department a “checks and balances” system.

“If someone chases someone and has to tackle them there are six checks and balances before the use of force is ever cleared,” said Ramirez. “This accreditation, although it benefits the department, it is truly for our citizens that live here, the citizens that work here and the citizens that traverse the community.”

These Best Practices were developed by Texas Law Enforcement professionals to “assist agencies in the efficient and effective delivery of service and the protection of individual’s rights.” These Best Practices cover all aspects of law enforcement operations including use of force, protection of citizen rights, vehicle pursuits, property and evidence management and patrol and investigative operations.

“We are very proud to achieve it,” said Ramirez. Ramirez says he initiated the process when he took over as chief in 2016 and assumed it could be done within a year – something he soon realized was unlikely. “Oh no…it was a lot harder process than that. We had to go through our entire policy manual. Everything is covered in those best practices.”

The Stafford Police Department was originally accredited by the Texas Police Chiefs Association Law Enforcement Accreditation Program in June of 2018. Police agencies Accredited by the TPCA must undergo an onsite inspection every fourth year and this makes the second successful onsite inspection by the Stafford Police Department.

This voluntary process required the Stafford Police Department to conduct a critical self-review of the agency’s policies, procedures, facilities and operations. Beginning in January of 2022, the department began the lengthy process to become an “Accredited Law Enforcement Agency” by preparing proofs of compliance for each of the Texas Law Enforcement Best Business Practices. Upon completion of the internal review, an outside audit and review was requested. This final on-site review took place on June 27. The on-site review is conducted by trained police chiefs from other areas of Texas. The result of this review was then sent to the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s Accreditation Committee for final analysis and decision to award “Accredited” status.

Ramirez says that the process was a department-wide effort, but a lot of the day-to-day work falls on Lieutenant Nathan Cohn.

“Any time there is a new court ruling or legislation is passed, which includes updating our policy manual and everything that has to be maintained, he is the one who carries the weight of the department for the most part. He has done a fantastic job.”

On July 5, the department was notified that it had been awarded the “Accredited Law Enforcement Agency” award. Stafford Police Department becomes the 134th agency in the state to be so accredited.

The actual presentation of the award will take place at the Stafford City Council Meeting on Aug. 3. The department will also be Accredited at the Texas Police Chiefs Association annual conference in April.


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