Public hearing on June 20 a chance for citizens to comment

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FARMINGTON — The Farmington Police Department is preparing for an on-site assessment by the members of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies for reaccreditation.

Two members of the CALEA will visit the department from June 18-21, according to Farmington police business and accreditation analyst Andrea Allison.

CALEA was created in 1979 by four of the largest national law enforcement organizations. Its accreditation programs are designed to improve the delivery of public safety by departments voluntarily complying with as many as 484 standards covering areas including administration, operations, policy and procedure and support services.

The reaccreditation process helps police departments make sure policies are up to date and helps them make informed management decisions, improving the department's relationship with the community and strengthens their accountability, Allison said.

The Farmington Police Department is one of two municipal police departments accredited by CALEA in the state, along with the Los Alamos County Police Department, according to the CALEA client database.

The New Mexico State Police Department is also accredited by CALEA.

The Farmington Police Department has been accredited since July 29, 1995, and has been reaccredited in 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015.

It is a three-year assessment in which departments bring files, policies and practices into compliance with the CALEA standards, Allison said.

Members of CALEA are conducting reviews of the 364 standards that apply to the Farmington Police Department.

Some items, like the annual internal affairs report, can cover up to five of the standards, according to Farmington police spokesperson Georgette Allen.

Allison has been responding to requests for additional information from CALEA and stated the team has been marking a lot of the standards as in compliance.

During their three-day visit, the CALEA team is expected to interview police personnel, visit the San Juan County Communications Authority, take a tour of the department and conduct onsite interviews and officer ride-alongs.

A public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. June 20 in the Farmington City Hall council chambers at 800 Municipal Drive. The hearing will provide an opportunity for citizens to comment on the ability of Farmington police to be in compliance with the CALEA standards.

For those unable to attend the hearing, comments can also be made by calling 505-599-1095 between 2 and 4 p.m. on June 19.

The comments at the hearing and during the call-in will be limited to 10 minutes and must focus on the ability of Farmington police to comply with the CALEA standards, Allen said.

Copies of the standards can be obtained by calling the accreditation manager for the department at 505-599-1075.

Allen recommended citizens take time to learn about CALEA standards so they'll be better equipped to ask questions during the hearing.

If citizens have questions about better understanding the standards, they can call the Farmington Police Department at 505-599-1070.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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