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New Hope police begin accreditation process


Since 2001, Pennsylvania has been offering a Law Enforcement Accreditation Program to police departments statewide.
The New Hope Borough Police Department is currently in the process of obtaining the important and timely accreditation. Over 145 departments throughout the commonwealth have been accredited since the program launched. The accreditation effort was approved by the New Hope Council, which is funding the arduous 18-month process from start to finish.
“It makes us more professional,” said Chief Michael Cummings, who has served as the New Hope police chief for 12 years. “It’s a long process,” he noted. The department was required to rewrite its policy manual and standardize and document use of force among other activities. Outside assessors will be brought in to ensure standards are being met in all areas of law enforcement.
According to the website, the benefits of completing the accreditation process include, “improvement of law enforcement/community relations, extending agency accountability to the public and elected officials, and reducing the risk of exposure to lawsuits.” The accreditation process has even attracted the attention of the NAACP, which has gone on record encouraging police departments across the state to participate.

Among the requirements: No chokeholds are allowed unless it’s a life and death situation. The rigorous program ensures that the highest standards in policing are maintained.
To monitor the process, the department utilizes a software tracking program called Power DMS, which allows for real-time tracking of all required areas of certification. Any training exercises that the department participates in get embedded into the system under categories such as firearms, CPR and first aid. All internal policies are housed there too, which allows officers to use an app in order to quickly access proper standard operating procedures. Everything from how to properly handle evidence, a DUI stop, a runaway, or a juvenile in custody, are at the officer’s fingertips. “It makes life a lot easier,” said Chief Cummings.
To keep the accreditation, the department must remain current in all areas of law enforcement administration. “We have to review all policies yearly,” said Chief Cummings. “If new standards come out from the state, we have to adapt. It keeps us at the forefront of everything that is going on.”