Under the Dome

Budget cut would force SHP to drop accreditation

The State Highway Patrol would no longer be nationally accredited, under budget cuts the General Assembly is considering.

The five-person office that oversees the accreditation process would be eliminated in order to save about $400,000.

Losing the national recognition won’t affect the patrol’s daily operations, a spokeswoman says. But, privately, some troopers are reportedly upset the state will be dropping the designation.

“There will be no impact,” says Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Crystal Feldman.

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies evaluates agencies based on more than 400 measures. A few years ago, the SHP boasted that CALEA had given it special designation as a “flagship agency.” Most of the state’s largest police departments are accredited by the organization.

The SHP follows the state Division of Prisons opting not to renew its accreditation for its central office and 10 of its newest close-custody prisons after a three-year period that expired in 2011. Earning the 2008 accreditation required extensive rewriting of policies and procedures, which remain in effect, a DPS spokeswoman said earlier this year.

It cost the state more than $900,000 to qualify for that last prisons accreditation, the spokeswoman said. It would have cost about $118,000 to renew, and so officials decided against it.

The SHP unit that would be eliminated in the budget includes three sworn law enforcement officers and two civilian employees. The head of the unit made $104,417 a year.

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