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Assessment team to evaluate CCPD practices

By Staff | Aug 10, 2017

The community has an opportunity next week to offer its input on how the Cape Coral Police Department is doing when a team of independent assessors visit.

Members of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies will arrive over the weekend to examine all aspects of the CCPD and its 911 Communications Center, including policies, procedures, management and operations. Feedback from the public is invited as part of the process.

On Monday, a call-in session will be conducted by the assessment team from 2 to 4 p.m. Two phone lines will be set up for community members and CCPD employees to call and provide comments.

“It’s an opportunity for the public to talk to assessors who are sent here,” Police Chief Dave Newlan said, adding that the team is not local. “This is, basically, like a report card for the police department.”

He explained that the department takes the assessment and its results very seriously.

“It maintains a level of professionalism (at the department),” Newlan said.

Anyone wishing to take part can call:

* 239-573-3092 for comments on law enforcement

* 239-242-3345 for comments on communications

Later on Monday, the assessment team will hold a public hearing for the community for the same purpose. The hearing will take place at 5 p.m. in the ballroom at the Cape Coral Yacht Club.

“It’s very cordial. It’s very relaxed,” Newlan said.

“It’s just an opportunity, again, for the public or whoever to just show up,” he added.

Newlan noted that some people attend simply to listen to the feedback.

Comments must address the CCPD or its center’s ability to comply with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies’ standards, of which there are nearly 600.

“The standards cover every facet of a department,” he said.

They can range from calls for service, to getting information out about a crime.

“(The standards) cover everything, from use of force, to community policing, bias-based policing,” Newlan said. “A lot of times, residents want to give their input on their interactions with police.”

“Things they think the department is doing well on, or things they have concerns with,” he said.

During the call-in session and hearing, each commentator will have 10 minutes.

All of the input collected will be documented.

“It’s going to go into a report that will be reviewed by the commission,” Newlan said.

For the call-in session, commentators will be asked by the team members to provide their name, address and phone number. However, commentators can decline to provide the information.

“You can remain anonymous,” he said.

The community also has the option of submitting a written comment to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA), 13575 Heathcote Blvd., Suite 320, Gainesville, Virginia 20155. According to Newlan, there is no deadline for the written input.

The team will be comprised of: Chief Vincent DeMaio, of the Clinton Police Department; Maj. John Clifton, of the Johns Creek Police Department; and Zeta Fail, of the College Station Police Department.

Verification by the team that a department has maintained the commission’s standards is part of a voluntary process to comply with the accreditations best practices and to demonstrate commitment to professional excellence, officials reported. The CCPD has held national accreditation since 1989.

The department’s 911 Communications Center was nationally accredited in 2014.

Newlan noted that only five agencies within Florida have both national accreditations.

“We’re also state of Florida accredited,” he said.

If the commission grants re-accredited status to the department, it now lasts for four years instead of three years. An agency, however, must submit annual reports attesting to its continued compliance.

“The process will be changing. It will be on a four-year rotation,” Newlan said.

“But, there are certain things they check on an annual basis,” he said.

Officials invited the public to get involved in the process.

“We’re very big on community policing, so I welcome the community to take part,” Newlan said.

Those interested in viewing the full CALEA standards can stop by the CCPD police headquarters, at 1100 Cultural Park Blvd. Contacts for the information are Cpl. Jen Silko and Cpl. Morgan Mills.

For information on CALEA or inquiries, visit: www.calea.org/ or call 703-352-4225.

The Cape Coral Yacht Club is at 5819 Driftwood Parkway.