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Decatur Police Department receives law enforcement recertification award

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Decatur Police Department receives law enforcement recertification award

City of Decatur Police Chief Scott Richards, on left, and Sgt. John Bender talk with children during STAR Afterschool Program’s annual “Say No To Drugs” egg hunt at Ebster Park on Friday, April 15, 2022. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur Police Department was recently re-certified by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and received an award for law enforcement recertification.

The Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police runs the Georgia Law Enforcement Certification Program. There are 142 state certified agencies in Georgia, Decatur Police Chief Scott Richards said.

The GACP says, “The Decatur Police Department has fully demonstrated its commitment to law enforcement excellence and best practices by meeting all applicable standards as established in the Georgia Law Enforcement Certification Program.”

According to the GACP website, certification acknowledges the implementation of policies and procedures that are operationally and conceptually sound.

“Certification is about best practices. The Certification Program provides a comprehensive blueprint for effective, professional law enforcement,” the website states. “It is the role of the Georgia Law Enforcement Certification Program to establish standards promoting professionalism in law enforcement, oversee the State Certification process, and award certification status to Georgia Law Enforcement agencies that meet the established standards.”

In order to be certified, police departments must show compliance with each standard by having sound procedures and policies.

“The standards are fluid and are based on current changes in law enforcement. The program creates best practices in law enforcement. The program is voluntary for police agencies to participate,” Richards said.

The Decatur Police Department is up for re-certification every three years and has been a state-certified agency since 2003. At the GACP summer conference, the department was presented with the “Meritorious Gold Award for ‘continuous commitment to law enforcement excellence and best professional practices for 20 years as a State Certified Agency,'” Richards said.

Richards added that he wasn’t surprised when the Decatur PD was re-certified.

“Deputy Chief Mike Matics, who was the Certification Manager at the time, and our new Certification Manager Kristi Keck worked extremely hard [to] ensure the standards were met to allow our department to achieve the re-certification,” Richards said. “Every member of the Decatur Police Department also played a role in the department being re-certified. The employees understand the importance of state certification and how it benefits the agency, the city of Decatur, and the community.”

He added that state certification sets Decatur apart from other departments and ensures Decatur PD has sound policies and is up-to-date on law enforcement best practices.

The recertification is a source of great pride for the police department and the city, City Manager Andrea Arnold said.

“This is a voluntary program that we choose to participate in because we recognize that its rigor and performance standards help us to improve our ability to serve and protect our city,” Arnold said. “Chief Richards and his team should be commended for their commitment to the progressive standards of the program and for their professional approach to community policing. ”

Mayor Patti Garrett said, during the Aug. 21 city commission meeting, that this is an accomplishment for the police department.

“The benefits of state certification are first, an affirmation and acknowledgment that a law enforcement agency operates using best practices to conduct progressive law enforcement services, and certification provides for greater operational and administrative effectiveness which creates better accountability within the agency,” Garrett said. “Certification provides personnel a better understanding of policies and procedures through enhanced training and responsibility.”

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