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TALLAHASSEE - Colonel Ron Grimming, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, announced today that national law enforcement accreditation seals will be placed on all marked Florida Highway Patrol cars beginning January 28, 1997. The Florida Highway Patrol received official accreditation status on November 23, 1996, in Miami at the national law enforcement accreditation conference.

Illinois State Police Director Terrance W. Gainer, who is also a member of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), formally presented the FHP with the official certificate of national accreditation at today's Florida Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee.

"The seals will signify a very important accomplishment for the men and women of the Florida Highway Patrol," said Colonel Grimming. "Achieving accreditation will ensure that the Patrol operates consistently with nationally recognized professional law enforcement standards," Grimming added.

The police accreditation concept began in the late 1970"s when progressive thinkers in law enforcement began contemplating the possibility of an accreditation process, much like professionals in the medical, educational, and legal communities had already accomplished in years past. Shortly thereafter, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the National Sheriff's Association, The Police Executive Research Forum, and the National Association of Black Police Executives, formed the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

In 1992, the Florida Highway Patrol began the process of becoming nationally accredited. While this process created some short-term disruptions because of various policy changes and the creation of new rules and procedures, accreditation provided Florida's largest state law enforcement agency with a mechanism for critical self-evaluation and the opportunity for an outside assessment of division operations.

"There are only a few hundred police agencies in the country that have received accreditation and another 1000 currently in the process. It has been shown that accredited law enforcement agencies have stronger defensible positions in legal actions, fewer civil actions against the agency, and the recognition improves agency standing both in law enforcement circles and the community," Grimming concluded.


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