By Arielle Robinson
Chuck Groover, the coordinator for the GACP’s state certification program, presented a certification plaque to Acworth Police Chief Wayne Dennard and Sergeant Lisa Montcalm.
In addition to presenting to the police, Groover praised the department’s efforts in front of the Board of Aldermen.
“If your agency gets state certified — at least while I’m there, you’re going to earn it,” Groover said. “And [Acworth PD has] earned it.”
Groover said that Dennard told him that Acworth’s Board of Aldermen and mayor have been very supportive of the police department. Groover said that this has not always been the case in times he has presented to various city councils and boards.
Various law enforcement agencies are certified every three years.
Montcalm explained the state certification program in a presentation to the Board.
The certification program began in the 1990s. Agencies must follow and align their departmental policies with the 143 standards that the program sets. These standards have evolved throughout the years. GACP is on its sixth version of those standards.
The actual process of recertification can take up to three years to complete, hence the department being recertified every three years.
“We have onsite assessors from other law enforcement agencies around the state that come and rate us on our policies and our procedures and our facility to make sure that everything is aligning with those standards,” Montcalm said.
Montcalm was also the recipient of certificates from the state certification program and Acworth PD for the work she has done with both.
Montcalm leads the police department’s Office of Professional Standards and Training, which deals with citizen complaints, coordinates training and keeps up to date with accreditation and certification, among many other responsibilities.
Acworth PD is currently working toward being accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
CALEA is similar to GACP certification in that it has a set number of standards law enforcement must follow.
CALEA is broader, though. It has an international range and departments must adhere to 426 standards instead of the state’s 143. Another difference is that departments receive CALEA recertification every four years.
A police department that hopes to be CALEA certified has up to 36 months to conduct a self-assessment before an outside group assesses the department.
Law enforcement agencies in and near Cobb County involved with CALEA include the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Atlanta PD, Kennesaw PD, Marietta PD, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department, Cobb County PD, Woodstock PD, Roswell PD, Johns Creek PD and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.
Montcalm said the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department is working towards being CALEA accredited and is currently in the 36-month assessment process.
Altogether, 44 Georgia law enforcement agencies are CALEA accredited. Acworth PD hopes to be number 45.
Arielle Robinson is a student at Kennesaw State University. She is the current president of the university’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and former editor at the KSU Sentinel. She enjoys music, reading poetry and non-fiction books and collecting books and records. She enjoys all kinds of music and reading poetry and non-fiction books.