ECUPD maintains dual accreditation

The East Carolina University Police Department remains one of two university police departments in the UNC System to earn dual accreditation after completing a reaccreditation process.

ECU Police Chief Jason Sugg addresses the media at a swearing-in ceremony in December. (ECU photo by Rhett Butler)

ECU completed the reaccreditation process to be certified by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) last week. The department is also certified by the Commission for Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). According to ECU Police Chief Jason Sugg, there are less than 30 departments in the country that have both CALEA and IACLEA accreditation.

ECU and North Carolina State University are the only law enforcement agencies in the UNC System accredited by both organizations.

“All of our accreditation efforts and awards over the past two decades mean a great deal to the department and the community, whether we consciously think about it or not,” said Sugg. “It means that ECUPD makes great efforts to operate within recognized best practices, and we are willing to be regularly assessed openly to ensure those standards are met. This translates to better services to our community.”

ECU was first certified by IACLEA in 2016 and initially went through the renewal process in 2020. IACLEA accreditation is for four years. The IACLEA consists of more than 1,000 colleges and universities in 14 countries.

The department has been reaccredited by CALEA every three years beginning in 2007.

To be accredited by the IACLEA, an agency goes through a five-step process that includes an initial candidacy; self-assessment; an on-site assessment performed by a team of assessors selected and trained by the IACLEA; a commission review; and annual report submission.

“The department must provide proofs for each accreditation standard for each year of the assessment,” said Sugg. “Data can be anything from memos to policies, forms or other records, written plans, and even copies of emails. All of these serve to document proof that our agency is living up to the expectations of accreditation.”

Although accreditation may be unfamiliar to those outside of law enforcement, Sugg feels that it is important for the ECU community to realize that they ultimately reap the benefits of the department achieving this status.

“It’s important because it means that ECUPD meets or exceeds recognized best practices for law enforcement agencies, including recruitment of employees, training, providing thorough services, documenting that we do these things and ensuring that the community is the beneficiary of these services,” said Sugg. “It also is important because accreditation comes with a level of accountability by ensuring that our policies are appropriately written and documented, which results in the best service that can be provided.”

Sugg and department members will be recognized during a ceremony on June 26 at the 2024 IACLEA Annual Conference in New Orleans.