Police Dept. again awarded ‘rare’ affirmation

Covington remains 1 of only 3 police agencies in Ky. to earn independent accreditation

COVINGTON, Ky. – Covington’s Police Department remains in rare company, having – again – passed an internationally recognized independent organization’s rigorous, years’ long assessment of Covington’s professionalism, policies, leadership, and standards.

This week, the Department received word that it again will be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc., which represents the gold standard for accrediting law enforcement (in the United States and many other countries).

Covington was first accredited in 2017 and remains one of only three police agencies in Kentucky to earn that status.

“Accreditation is a good benchmark that reminds us that good police work on the streets requires a strong foundation in policies and practices,” Covington Chief Rob Nader said. “We’re proud to be CALEA-accredited – especially since this isn’t a status we give ourselves but rather one that a respected third party made us work for. This award reflects the commitment of the women and men on Covington’s force to the highest standards in public safety and to promoting community confidence in the service we provide.”

Covington touts its status with – among other things – gold, blue, and white decals on the side of its cruisers.

To maintain accreditation, Covington has had to comply on an ongoing basis with 189 standards. The process included a multi-year self-assessment phase and a meticulous site-based assessment of community engagement, policy, procedures, equipment, and facilities by CALEA officials, as well as formal community engagement opportunities.

Chief Nader praised the City’s accreditation team of Capt. Greg Jones, Capt. Matt Winship, and Assistant Chief Justin Wietholter for doing the legwork in order to achieve the re-accreditation.

Among other things, CALEA requires written directives and sound training that inform employees about policies and practices, facilities and equipment that ensure employee safety, clearly defined lines of authority, routine reports that support decision-making and resource allocation, and processes that safeguard employee rights.

“This award of accreditation does not come easy,” said CALEA President Anthony Purcell, who is also chief of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Police Department. “Agencies must go through a rigorous review and evaluation of their organization and then implement the necessary policy and procedure changes. The process does not stop at that point. By voluntarily choosing to seek CALEA accreditation, the agency commits to an ongoing review of adherence to CALEA’s standards. Each community with CALEA-accredited agencies should feel confident that their public safety organization is going above and beyond and operating under the highest standards in public safety.”

CALEA was created in 1979. For more about the organization and the process and benefits of accreditation, see HERE.

The organization noted that Covington is authorized to employ 114 sworn officers (it currently has 106) and 21 non-sworn employees. The Department’s mission is described as seeking to promote and achieve these core functions:

  • Reduce crime and the fear of crime.
  • Call offenders to account.
  • Ensure safety in public spaces.
  • Use resources and force/authority in a fair, efficient, and effective manner.
  • Provide excellent customer service.

“Four words adorn the badges that every Covington Police officer wears: Integrity, professionalism, justice, and compassion,” Chief Nader said. “We take the CALEA certification seriously because in many ways it examines how, in our day-to-day service to the community, we measure up to those lofty concepts.”