URBANA, Ill. (WAND) - The University of Illinois Police Department has again earned the highest level of accreditation any police force in Illinois can receive.
The honor is Tier Two accreditation from the Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (ILEAP). To earn this honor, police said they had to clear 180 stringent criteria "which seek to assure that the department's policies an practices are consistent with top industry standards and that its police officers are providing a high level of customers service to the community."
Since first earning Tier Two status in 2012 as the first university department in the state to earn the honor, U of I police said they have never lost it. Officials said ILEAP looks at UIPD with the same standards traditional city or county law enforcement agencies are graded with.
“Our renewed accreditation shows that we are in line with the top industry standards in policing and, in many cases, exceeding them,” said U of I Police Chief Alice Cary. “Our number one goal is always to make our campus the safest is can possibly be, and this accreditation is one step along the way to ensuring that the University of Illinois Police Department is properly trained and prepared to do just that.”
Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Ed Wojcicki said UIPD has done great work in providing mental health resources and collaborating with social workers. U of I police earned a high grade in community policing.
“The Illinois Chiefs commend the University of Illinois Police Department for demonstrating the highest standards of 21st century policing,” Wojcick said. “This department emphasizes care and safety for a highly diverse community. Our association recently highlighted the U. of I. PD in a statewide feature about how the police can work collaboratively and empathetically with social workers to take care of people’s real needs. The U. of I. PD is a leader in this area and a model for many other departments.”
ILEAP looks at if a police department follows a code of ethics, has specific policies and standards for use of force, follows appropriate procedures for investigations and has a strong community relations effort, among other standards, per a press release. The internal functions of a police department are also looked at, including whether the department has written directives that prevent harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Cary continues to look forward to the future with U of I police.
“The work is never done,” Cary said. “UIPD will continue to strive to provide exceptional service to our campus and be responsive to the needs expressed by our community members.”