Anne Arundel Community College Makes the Grade

Accreditation demonstrates that this Maryland school’s nonsworn public safety department uses best practices.

Campus security leaders know that both human nature and Mother Nature can cause an emergency situation at any college at any time. However, response of campus security personnel, in collaboration with the college administration, can make a difference in whether that emergency is resolved quickly or escalates.

Obviously, having a plan to deal with emergencies is essential, but having the personnel to implement that plan is the real key to success. One way to ensure proper training is to have that training assessed, via the accreditation process, to see if it meets the latest professional standards. It is also is a progressive and time-proven way of helping the college evaluate and improve the department’s overall performance.

Getting that assessment is one reason the Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) Department of Public Safety of Arnold, Md., went under the microscope of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) accreditation process. AACC officials chose the IACLEA program because the school’s public safety department is comprised of nonsworn officers. This meant AACC did not qualify for accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which accredits agencies with sworn officers.

AACC’s Department of Public Safety became the first community college department in the United States to earn IACLEA accreditation in the fall of 2008. Department Director Chief J. Gary Lyle says this honor boosts officer confidence because they know they will be able to handle emergency situations. “This tells the college community and other professional law enforcement and public safety agencies that we are achieving internationally recognized standards,” he adds.

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