Gulfport Police Department Seeks State Accreditation

GULFPORT (WLOX) -- On a day-to-day basis, police patrol our community, keeping a close eye out to maintain law and order. This week, the Gulfport Police Department will be under review by three state accreditation officers.

To earn accreditation, the police department must prove it meets all 113 professional standards set by the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Committee and Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, also known as CALEA.

"Those standards are based on current law enforcement practices, current research and current case law. And what they do with those standards, it requires us to develop policy and then to operate within that policy," said Sgt. Luke Thompson.

Sgt. Thompson is the police department's accreditation manager. He and other officers have been working diligently to make sure the department earns the state accreditation.

"Gulfport police have been operating very closely to this standard for several years now, so it just makes sense to go ahead and accept that standard, go a little bit above and beyond what we've already been doing and earn our own accreditation seal by this independent third party," Sgt. Thompson said.

Sgt. Thompson says the accreditation holds the police department to a higher standard of accountability, including a collective annual review to see if there are any areas where the police department can improve.

"One of the biggest things is it makes us go back and look at our use of force reports, police pursuits," Sgt. Thompson said.

The state accreditation review will take place Tuesday through Thursday. The Gulfport Police Department should know if they earned the accreditation in about a month.

As part of the assessment, the public is encouraged to call and offer comments about the job the Gulfport Police Department does. To give your input, call (228) 868-5771 on Wednesday, June 25 from 1 to 3 p.m.