PLAINSBORO: Police acknowledged for receiving accreditation

By Charley Falkenburg, Staff Writer
   PLAINSBORO — Local residents can officially go to bed at night knowing they have one of the best police forces in the state watching over them.
   The Plainsboro Police Department recently achieved accreditation by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) — an accomplishment just 90 out of 540 law enforcement agencies in the state can currently boast. It took the department a little more than two years, but in February they received proof of what it knew all along: it has and continues to match the highest standards and the best practices in policing set by NJSACOP.
   The Township Committee took the opportunity at its Wednesday meeting to honor its police force with a special ceremony to recognize the achievement. They were pleased, but not surprised their officers joined the one-third of agencies in the state recognized as the utmost competent and professional.
   ”This reaffirms what we already know — we already have an outstanding police department, but it is great to have it recognized,” said Mayor Peter Cantu. “What’s equally important is they continue to strive for excellence every day and continue to grow in their progress to their commitment to the town.”
   Harry Delgado, the Accreditation Program manager at NJSACOP, also attended to congratulate the department.
   ”This is a sought-after goal of many law enforcement agencies in New Jersey — Plainsboro is literally joining an exclusive group of agencies that made this commitment to excellence in policing,” said Mr. Delgado. “Your officers are able to take pride for having been objectively recognized for their professionalism and adherence to the highest standards in law enforcement today.”
   Chief Guy Armour described the journey to completing the voluntary program as a very time consuming and comprehensive process. To obtain accreditation, the police had to document and prove they were meeting 112 police standards in addition to sub-standards set by NJSACOP. Although it was rigorous and they weren’t required to take on the extra work, the benefits of coming out on top were worth it for the force.
   ”This gives us increased accountability in the agency, it reduces risk and liability exposure and there’s a stronger defense against civil lawsuits,” said Chief Armour. “It’s also good because it increases community advocacy and the community will have more confidence in us.”
   It wasn’t an easy process for the department — particularly at the beginning when its 35 officers had to get used to adding more responsibilities to their already laden plates.
   Cpl. Brett Olma, the department’s accreditation manager, had delegated the added responsibilities to each office. However, once they learned why and the importance of completing the process, the police chief said his crew got more excited — especially when they received notification they passed with flying colors.
“Everyone was extremely proud because they knew the amount of effort that was put into the job,” said Chief Armour. “Our morale is high and our guys are extremely excited to be one of the 90 police departments accredited in New Jersey — it’s such a great standard to attain.” The accreditation expires after three years, but Chief Armour said the department would be doing the process all over again in 2016.