After six years and over 100 policies and directive revisions, the Philadelphia Police Department has achieved its accreditation from the state of Pennsylvania.
With approximately 6,500 sworn personnel, the PPD is the largest law-enforcement agency in the state, which has over 1,100 police departments in 67 counties. The accreditation of the department brings the state’s law-enforcement officers who work for accredited agencies to over 50%.
The Philadelphia Police Department is now a part of 104 agencies in the state to have accreditation, said Upper Moreland Police Chief Mike Murphy.
For the PPD, accreditation means that the agency has a near-continuous review of the best practices and policies as a police force in the state. It increases protection, consistency and accountability for police across the PPD.
During a news conference where the announcement of the PPD’s accreditation took place, Mayor Nutter called it a “crowning achievement” for outgoing Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and the PPD. The department worked together to achieve accreditation and to discuss the process and its meaning for residents and police.
Ramsey stated, “the people of Philadelphia can rest assured they have a department that meets national standards.”
Lt. Steve Clark, headed the group of police who worked on the accreditation for three to six years, stated that the achievement is a symbol of the “commitment, dedication and passion” of the officers involved to improve policing and policies in the city. He said the more than 100 policies, directive changes and additions took dedication of officers in the department.
According to Clark, the six-year accreditation resulted in the development of seven new directives for police offices, including the provision of guidelines for communication with transgenders and the creation of a field development to keep officers’ skills safe.
Some changes also included improvements in the way property and evidence gathered by officers are collected that saves officers over 11,000 hours per year in trips to City Hall’s evidence room. It also covers policy on the transportation of wheelchair-bound inmates.
Clark stated that police officers are required to qualify at the shooting range when they carry weapons off-duty and during service.
The accreditation simplifies officers’ jobs and in certain situations streamlines processes by eliminating or improving dated paperwork used for several decades. The work does not stop with this current achievement, however; the PPD needs re-accreditation every three years, which means regular reviews of best practices and policies.
The achievement outlines the commitment and dedication of the department and its aim to provide better police force for residents.