ORLANDO, Fla. – Fewer than half of all law enforcement agencies in Florida are accredited, meaning their standards have been reviewed and approved by an independent commission.
For the past nine years, the University of Central Florida’s police department has been accredited by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA), the state standard. Now for the first time ever, the UCF PD is seeking an additional, significant accreditation only for colleges and universities.
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Cynthia Pugsley, UCF PD’s accreditation manager, is in the process of reviewing all of the department’s documented policies and procedures to include training specifics, weapons, use of force and safety.
“Because you want to have these records when it’s time and when it’s needed if you have to show to the public we are training our people properly,” Pugsley said.
Pugsley’s role is to apply and re-apply for accreditation. To receive approval, an independent commission must review the department’s documentation to make sure it is up to the highest standards.
“Making sure that the agency is being transparent to the public, doing the training that needs to be done, following the state and federal laws,” Pugsley said.
Already UCF holds itself to high standards, as evidenced by its long-held CFA accreditation, Pugsley said.
But a college-specific accreditation by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) is even more specific and stringent.
The IACLEA accreditation requires that colleges conform to two federal laws: The Clery Act and Title IX.
The Clery Act, named for a student raped and murdered in her dorm in 1986, requires the school to report crime and crime warnings to students and the public, and specifically:
- Identify reportable locations;
- Identify individuals/organizations as Campus Security Authorities;
- Implement prevention programs for crime; illegal drug use/abuse and distribution; alcohol abuse; and sexual assault and interpersonal violence
- Compile and distribute campus crime statistics;
- Issue emergency notifications and timely warnings when there is an immediate or ongoing threat to the campus community;
- Maintain daily crime and fire logs; and
- Publish annual security and fire safety reports.
Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in education. UCF has its own Title IX Response Team and a Title IX coordinator.
Pugsley expects to complete her review, call for the IACLEA inspection and receive IACLEA accreditation within two years or sooner.
Accreditation is costly—hiring an accreditation manager, coupled with annual fees (IACLEA alone is $3,000 per year) and the price of upgrading policies or adding training—but UCF PD said the cost is an investment in its police department and its campus.