RUPD earns VLEPSC reaccreditation, aces review

RUPD aces reaccreditation
RUPD Chief of Police David Underwood (left) is presented with a Certificate of Accreditation by Pulaski County Chief of Police Gary Roche (right). Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill (center) witnessed the ceremony.

The Radford University Police Department (RUPD) was recognized for its commitment to law enforcement excellence by the Virginia Law Enforcement and Professional Standards Commission (VLEPSC) on March 27 in a ceremony hosted by Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill in Martin Hall.

In Virginia, law enforcement agencies can seek accreditation status, but it is not required in the Commonwealth.

“This fact further distinguishes the Radford University Police Department to a commitment to professionalism and willingness to be measured and compared to the best practices of the profession,” said Pulaski County Chief of Police Gary Roche.

VLEPSC, the accreditation agency, was formed in the 1990s to provide law enforcement agencies in Virginia a benchmark by which to measure themselves. Out of 417 eligible law enforcement agencies, 95 have been accredited or been reaccredited.

VLEPSC is composed of active sheriffs and chiefs of police from the Virginia Sheriff Association, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. The commission establishes professional standards and administers the accreditation process by which Virginia law enforcement agencies can be systematically measured, evaluated and updated. The VLEPSC executive board met on Jan. 5 and unanimously approved RUPD for reaccreditation.

RUPD aces reaccrediation

Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill (center-right) and Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Finance and Administration Richard S. Alvarez (third from left) pose with members of the RUPD after they received a Certificate of Accreditation by Pulaski County Chief of Police Gary Roche.

“On behalf of the entire Virginia Law Enforcement and Professional Standards Commission, I congratulate the entire Radford University Police Department for their hard work, perseverance and dedication to excellence in completing this process,” Roche said.

RUPD earned its first accreditation in 2001 and was the first university-based police department to be accredited in Virginia. RUPD remains one of only three university police departments to be accredited in the Commonwealth.

“Maintaining Accreditation enhances the campus communities understanding of RUPD as well as its goals and objectives,” RUPD Chief of Police David Underwood. “We make sure that we maintain the professionalism with the community through these standards. We have to make sure that we are following these as well as our policies and procedures.”

Roche added that, “Getting accredited is not nearly as difficult as maintaining it. You have to constantly prove you’re doing everything right.”

To become or maintain the status of an accredited agency, the department must meet a list of 191 standards.

“There are different bullets that go with each standard, so it is a lot more than 191,” said RUPD Officer Robert Johnson. “It’s an ongoing process. It isn’t every other year or every four years, it is a daily process to go through compliance.”

That daily effort paid off when the RUPD earned a perfect score during the process, a sign of the department’s ability to follow procedures and policies, as well as adapt.

“Law enforcement is ever changing, so you need to change with the times,” Johnson said. “It changes yearly, so we need to make sure that we are compliant with those ever-changing needs.”

Apr 3, 2017
Max Esterhuizen