On August 15, the Campus Police Department at Oklahoma City Community College received the Award of Certification from the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police Oklahoma Law Enforcement Accreditation Program.
The Campus Police Department has made OCCC safe and secure for the last six years, providing law enforcement and safety services since 2010.
The department is operated year round, with commissioned campus police officers on duty around the clock. The department is led by Chief Daniel Piazza.
OCCC’s police department is one of four campus agencies to receive this certification.
“I think a lot of times people view campus law enforcement as being unprofessional or not well trained, and that’s a myth. This proves that, because we have to meet the same standards that any other agency has to meet for certification or accreditation,” Piazza said.
Jim Spearman, who is currently the state program manager for the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police Law Enforcement Accreditation Program, said the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Accreditation Program was established in 1996, “with the purpose to enhance the law enforcement profession by providing an avenue for agencies to demonstrate that they exceed accepted standards and professional best practices.”
Accreditation provides objective evidence of an agency’s commitment to excellence in leadership, and resource management.
The OCCC Campus Police Department completed the certification process in record time.
“Typically agencies will spend about 18 months on this process. The OCCC police completed this process in less than ninety days,” Spearman said.
“When I got interviewed for the chief of police, one of the first things they commented on was that I had it as a goal to be certified,” Piazza said.
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies website says that certified and accredited agencies report a reduction in liability insurance costs, as well as a better ability to defend themselves against civil lawsuits.
OCCC’s police department is only 24 out of 481 police agencies in the state of Oklahoma have been certified through CALEA,.
The certification was formally presented at the Board of Regents meeting August 15.
“We wake up every morning on the campus police department striving to achieve greatness. Part of that includes the completion of the certification process, and moving on towards the accreditation,” Piazza said at the meeting.
Steve Swinford is the campus police department’s Community Liaison and training officer, and serves as the department’s Accreditation Manager. His role is to make sure the department is on track with the certification and accreditation process.
“The best way to describe it for someone who is involved with the college or university is that it is basically the same process that a college or university goes through to get accredited. It’s very intense,” Swinford said.
In addition to the certification, a certificate of leadership was given to Chief Piazza, and a recognition of leadership was given to Lieutenant Chris Tipton.
“You want to try and serve the community as best as you can, you want to make sure they’re safe, and you want to make sure they’re being served professionally. And in my opinion, certification is one