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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Jul. 1, 2014 4 years ago

Police win reaccreditation

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by: Wayne Grant Real Estate Editor

‘It’s a strenuous audit.’

 The Ormond Beach Police Department was awarded reaccreditation on June 25 by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation. The department lost its accreditation in 2012, because of problems that had occurred since the previous audit.

In 2010, multiple problems were discovered in an inventory of the evidence room, and in 2011, a janitor was caught stealing from the department. The department had corrected the evidence room and theft problems, but was denied accreditation in the 2012 audit.

Representatives of the police department and city received the accreditation at a ceremony in Bonita Springs.

“Obtaining and maintaining accredited status demonstrates the department’s diligence and commitment to maintaining the highest levels of professionalism and excellence in providing law enforcement services to the community,” said Keith Walker, police spokesman, in a press release.

Lt. Jesse Godfrey, who oversees department operations, said the department “really work hard” to get reaccredited.

“It was a proud accomplishment,” he said.

To get reaccredited, the department must prove it goes by the 273 separate standards. The assessment team from the commission interviews officers and civilian employees, physically checks equipment and reviews department records to insure compliance.

Godfrey said the assessment team spent two days going through files to make sure procedures and policies were documented.

“It’s a strenuous audit,” he said. “They say, ‘you say you do this, now prove it,’”

The standards are used as guidelines for police procedures and conduct in all police activities, including use of force, grievance process, investigations, traffic law enforcement, records and training.

Walker said the department was found to be in compliance with 100% of the applicable standards required for accreditation status with no corrective actions or noncompliance issues.

The Department’s current reaccredited status will remain in effect until 2017, when the department will undergo another review and assessment.

The assessment team spent a great deal of time inspecting the property and evidence section, Walker said, making sure the department had taken the necessary steps to correct the prior conflicts.

In the 2010 inventory, the evidence room was found to be in disarray, with piles of material that should have been destroyed or returned to the owners. The evidence room technician retired during the inventory. To correct the problems, new employees were hired and new procedures were put in place.

Police Chief Henry Osterkamp had ordered the inventory after assuming command of the department. He was out of town and not available for comment for this article.

In 2011, an employee was caught stealing. Among items stolen were cash from City Hall and heroin from the evidence room. He was convicted of grand theft and burglary. Steps taken to improve security included the installation of security cameras. Also, janitors are now accompanied in restricted areas.

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