The SUNY New Paltz University Police Department has been accredited by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, making it just one of 14 SUNY campus police departments receiving such an honor.
DCJS accreditation is a way of helping law enforcement improve their performance and evaluate their department. It measures their effectiveness, efficiency, cooperation, coordination and image within the community they serve. When accredited it shows that a department’s performance meets or exceeds the expectations of the highest standard set by the state.
“This is a project that has been five years in the making and has received support from the officers, their union and the college administration,” said UPD Chief David Dugatkin. “Receiving accreditation from the state acknowledges the department’s commitment to the community they serve as well as reaching the gold standard in community policing. I couldn’t be more proud of the men and women of this department who have worked alongside us on this challenging journey.”
The accreditation process for law enforcement was established in 1989. It is a volunteer program, which requires an application. There are more than 130 standards a department must meet in the areas of training, operation and administration.
Some departments have earned accreditation within a year after applying while others have taken several years. Once accredited a department must monitor and enforce high standards, providing an annual report on their performance for the following five years that accreditation lasts.
Dugatkin wants to maintain accreditation and plans to reapply in five years. He said that receiving accreditation shows that the New Paltz UPD is transparent and strong. Dugatkin added that accreditation helps with liability and any potential encounters with the court.
Thirteen other SUNY campuses have received accreditation are: The University at Albany, Alfred State College, Binghamton University, The University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Geneseo, Fredonia State, and Stony Brook University.
The Town of New Paltz Police Department also received accreditation, and the two departments enjoy a deeply rooted collaboration, which was a factor in fulfilling the accreditation requirements.