The Juneau Police Department was reaccredited as a department after a multi-year process. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

The Juneau Police Department was reaccredited as a department after a multi-year process. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

Police department completes reaccreditation process

It took over a year to certify, due to the pandemic.

The Juneau Police Department has been accredited by the Oregon Accreditation Alliance after a multi-year process involving examination of policy and on-site visits.

The accreditation process helps the JPD remain current with best practices across the country, said Lt. Krag Campbell, helping the department to avoid stagnation in its policy.

“It took a lot of commitment and resources to get here, but I believe the outcome is better serving the Juneau community and creating accountability. The accreditation process forced us to take a close look and get a new perspective on how and why we do things certain ways,” said Chief Ed Mercer in a news release. “We identified several things that required attention and many, many more things that we are already doing well.”

[Bridge proposed along section of slumping Alaska park road]

Among those changes included looking at the department’s policies focused on the holding cell, Campbell said.

“Most of the changes are pretty minor stuff that we do that we try to fine-tune some things to go along with best practices across the nation,” Campbell said. “Probably the biggest thing is it gives us a chance to look at our policies in depth.”

While Juneau is one of the largest police departments in Alaska, Campbell said, it’s still relatively isolated. Working with an accreditation organization gives them a chance to compare their policies against other departments, Campbell said; for JPD, the time and effort the process took was worth it.

“For us, we felt there was a benefit. It allows us to look at our policies and make sure we’re doing the best practices,” Campbell said. “We could be behind the times if you don’t keep up to speed.”

JPD worked with the OAA as the Alaska state accreditation program was discontinued several years ago, according to the news release.

“It’s time-consuming. Most of it is done online. We do it through our policy management software. You have show your policy complies with them,” Campbell said. “You’ve got to provide all that proof that you do what you say you do.”

Juneau is the second department to be accredited in the state, following Soldotna.

“With accreditation, we hope to gain community trust, as well as employee satisfaction and confidence in their police department, which will go a long way in recruitment,” Mercer said. “I’m very excited about it”

The department swore in two new officers Thursday morning in a private ceremony, Campbell said: Jeremy Foster and Christopher Herrick will attend the Public Safety Training Academy in February.

The department will be up for reaccreditation in late 2024, according to the news release.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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