The concept of law enforcement accreditation began in the 1970's when the need to upgrade the profession's public image was apparent. The goal was to instill "professionalism into every phase of police service.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) sought Federal funding to explore and implement a program of national accreditation. Borrowing heavily on the experience of other disciplines, the original standards were developed by IACP, the National Sheriff's Association (NSA), National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). The project was subsequently transferred to the newly established Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA).
Although law enforcement accreditation gained ground under CALEA, the cost for many agencies was prohibited. As a result, several states responded by launching their own law enforcement accreditation programs. The first state to adopt their own program was New York, followed by numerous other states including Oklahoma. The state programs have been successful in developing exceptional programs while keeping the cost within reach of almost every agency.
Oklahoma Implements Law Enforcement Accreditation
In July 1996, the Oklahoma District Attorney's Council awarded a grant to the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) to implement an Oklahoma Law Enforcement Accreditation and Professional Standards Program. A fourteen member Oklahoma Professional Standards Committee was formed to select appropriate standards. The Committee included representatives OACP, state, county and municipal law enforcement, municipal assurance attorneys and a Fraternal Order of Police representative.
The Oklahoma Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission (OLEAC)
In 2001, the OACP Executive Board established an informal Professional Standards Commission to support growth and enhancement of the accreditation program and to train assessors and agency accreditation managers. In June 2004, the OACP Executive Board responded to a recommendation to formalize the Commission by adapting By-Laws and increasing the number of Commissioners from four to nine members, with one, two and three year terms to ensure orderly rotation. The By-laws of the newly formed OLEAC and recommended changes were approved by the OACP Executive Board in August of 2004.