The Seaside Heights Police Department can now count itself among an elite group of law enforcement agencies in New Jersey, an official from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police said Wednesday, presenting the department with a re-accreditation by the organization.
Only 172 of the 470 eligible law enforcement agencies in New Jersey hold the accreditation, and only 8 percent of agencies receive final re-accreditation after an initial two-year period, said Harry J. Delgado, accreditation manager for the association. Accreditation is a lengthy process that includes an in-depth examination of a police department’s procedures, regulations and standards, encompassing reviews from both inside the department and from the public. In order to receive accreditation, departments must exceed state and national standards in all facets of their operations.
“They kept compliance with the standards, which puts them in a group that is less than 8 percent of those who have achieved accreditation,” said Delgado. “We left here reassured that the Seaside Heights Police Department is a highly-professional accredited agency.”
The association noted the department’s quick response times, complimentary recommendation from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and engagement with the community – especially the youth of the borough at the Hugh J. Boyd Elementary School – as supporting evidence of accreditation.
Chief Thomas Boyd said the department makes response times a priority. In a recent call in Hiering Avenue, he said, officers were inside a residence within 67 seconds of a call going out.
Accreditation comes with benefits beyond that of professional recognition, said Delgado. Accredited departments receive significant discounts on liability insurance, and can often cite accreditation status to defend against allegations of misconduct.
“It’s something we should be very proud of, and we are,” said Councilwoman Victoria Graichen.
“It is a very difficult accreditation, and it’s very tough in this town,” said Council President Richard Tompkins. “It’s a tough town to police.”