The Warwick Police Department was among three law enforcement agencies to be recognized as the first to earn accreditation from the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission, Mayor Scott Avedisian and Colonel Stephen McCartney announced this week. Warwick, the Rhode Island State Police and the Smithfield Police Department were honored last week during the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association Technology Expo.
To earn this accreditation, Warwick had to comply with 200 standards – 188 of which the department already regularly meets to earn national re-accreditation from CALEA – as well as an additional 12 in such areas as social media usage, firearms qualifications, background investigations and mutual aid agreements with other agencies in non-emergency events.
While it is certainly a feather in the police department’s hat to get the accreditation, McCartney said it also makes the people who insure municipalities breath a little easier.
“The expense was mostly met by the Rhode Island Interlocal Trust,” said McCartney. “That’s because they like the philosophy behind the accreditation process and because it reduces liability for the city.”
McCartney said the state accreditation also helped Warwick align with policies dictated by new laws about police matters passed in the General Assembly that affect the way police departments handle eyewitness identifications, electronic recording of interviews in capital crimes and juvenile enforcement policies to set a uniform standard throughout the 38 jurisdictions in the state.
The practical considerations are not lost on Mayor Scott Avedisian.
“I congratulate Colonel McCartney and the hardworking men and women of the department for earning this award,” Avedisian said. “This recognition – and the fact that Warwick has been nationally accredited since 1997 – speaks to the department’s professionalism, experience and dedication to our community. I am very proud of our officers and thank them for their ongoing commitment to ensuring that our department remains one of the best in the state and the country.”
“The credit for the Warwick Police Department passing the state accreditation process belongs to the men and women of the department,” McCartney said. “I would also like to specifically thank the accreditation team, which did a great deal of work to prepare for the inspection.”
Captain Christopher Stewart, Lieutenant Rick Rathbun and Sergeants Joseph Petrarca and Earl Read comprised the accreditation team.