Police Department earns national accreditation

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“The Johnston Police Department has been elevated to a new level,” said Chief Richard S. Tamburini said with a wide smile on his face. “Our officers are taking pride as being among the best in the nation.”

Tamburini, who for many of his 52 years in law enforcement has been recognized among the top police officers in Rhode Island, was referring to the JPD’s most prestigious honor ever – the highly-acclaimed National Accreditation Award through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

“The bar has been raised,” said Tamburini, who accepted the National Accreditation Award with Capt. Matthew G. Leduc and Lt. Matthew J. Benson at the recent CALEA National Convention that brought over 500 police personnel from all over the country to Providence. “My Johnston Police goal was to get the department accredited, Lt. Benson and Capt. LeDuc made it happen.”

Ever since 1995 when he became the JPD’s Chief Tamburini has explored the prestigious National Accreditation Award and the process and procedures a department needs to have in place in order to even be considered for the CALEA honor. The process to be considered for such an honor is lengthy and ambitious, as candidates must meet at least 200 standards set forth by CALEA.

However, that didn’t mean the JPD needed to refurbish its headquarters or any part of its physical plant. Nor did Tamburini and company have to re-write its many policies, as they had already been working along those lines because many of the necessary procedures and policies were already in place and working quite well.

“We’ve been doing everything and operating under the CALEA practices for a long time,” LeDuc said. “This is now an extension and validation of the way the Johnston Police Department has been operating for years.”

Back in 2015, the Johnston Police Department earned Rhode Island Accreditation through the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission and it was then, as Leduc explained, “that after the positive feedback we received from local CALEA agencies, the department revisited its aspirations to earn national accreditation.”

Enter Benson, who was named the Department’s Accreditation Manager and the Johnston Police Department’s quest for national accreditation was underway. He did so with confidence from Tamburini, who was certain he could do a great job getting the JPD ready for the accreditation test.

“Honestly, this wouldn’t have happened without Matt Benson’s hard work and overall operation of implementing the process,” LeDuc, the JPD’s Commander of the Operations and Training Division, said. “This award is indeed a testimony to his organizational skills that are absolutely incredible.”

While the JPD now ranks among the best police departments in the country, the National Accreditation comes with a special value to entire Town of Johnston was far as liability is concerned.

“The benefit to accreditation, with regards to liability and risk mitigation, is that the external scrutiny that an agency faces ensures that the agency is truly operating under nationally recognized best practices with regard to policy, procedure and organizational culture,” Benson explained. “The accreditation award shows that our agency is governed by industry standard organizational policies, procedurally, we function based on nationally recognized best practice systems; that our culture is such, as we have now proven by way of external review and assessment that we actually operate as we claim to.”

Back in February, the JPD’s off-site file review began with the CALEA assessment team touching ground a month later in Johnston. After only five months from formally pursuing CALEA accreditation, the results of both the off-site and on-site reviews were extremely positive and ultimately culminated in the achievement bestowed on the Johnston Police Department.

On the recent Saturday morning at the National Convention, Tamburini, LeDuc and Benson sat before a three-member sub-committee that heard testimony from the JPD officers and later that night a 36-member national committee voted unanimously to award the National Accreditation Award to the Johnston Police Department.

“The Johnston Police Department is extremely proud to stand alongside other model agencies in Rhode Island, and now around the globe,” read a prepared press statement from Major Joseph P. Razza. “As was always the case, the JPD operates in a functional and effective manner, now scrutinized and verified locally and beyond.”

Tamburini, LeDuc, Benson, Razza and the entire JPD membership were represented in the announcement, which read, “The JPD’s motto of Working Together – Making a Difference – has never been more evident, and now internationally recognized as well.”

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