By Mimi Wood, Island Eye News Staff Writer
Notorious for its strict enforcement of the speed limit, the Island’s Finest are generally loved, appreciated and respected by IOP residents.
Reciprocally, under the leadership of Chief Thomas E. Buckhannon III, the Isle of Palms Police Department “wants the citizens to feel as if the department is part of the community.”
One significant, yet little known way of showing their deep commitment to the island is through the IOPPD’s voluntary participation in an international organization called CALEA, the Commission for the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies. Voluntary, because accreditation doesn’t come easy.
Rigorous inspections, meticulous documentation and record keeping, ongoing interaction with the community, and innovative crime prevention programs just begin to describe the effort it takes to obtain and maintain accreditation. “We open our files, and show compliance to 485 standards,” explained Buckhannon.
In fact, because of CALEA’s arduous standards, a scant “4 percent of law enforcement agencies participate in the program,” approximates John Gregory, a retired police chief, now a Regional Program Director for CALEA.
So it was with great pride that the IOPPD recently accepted its sixth accreditation, this time a Meritorious Accreditation, having maintained accreditation for over 15 consecutive years. A team of trained assessors descends upon the Public Safety building, scrutinizing the department on a wide range of procedures, both public, such as use of force and ticketing procedures, as well as internal matters, like budgetary, hiring and disciplinary processes, and evidentiary procedures.
“We are assessed on the physical management of the agency and the property. Pretty much everything from A to Z,” explained Captain…