The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies
(CALEA) was created in 1979 as an independent accrediting authority by the four major law enforcement membership associations:
Members to the Commission are appointed by the Executive Directors of these four associations. A majority vote is required for each appointment. Commissioners are appointed to a term of three years.
The Commission is comprised of 21 members:
- 11 members are selected from law enforcement
- 10 members are selected from the public and private sectors.
The Commission meets three times a year to accredit and reaccredit law enforcement agencies.
CALEA derives its general authority from the four major law enforcement membership associations whose members represent approximately 80% of the law enforcement profession in the United States.
Purpose of the Commission
The primary purpose of the Commission is to improve law enforcement service by creating a national body of standards developed by law enforcement professionals. Furthermore, it recognizes professional achievements by establishing and administering an accreditation
process through which a law enforcement agency can demonstrate that it meets those standards.
The CALEA accreditation program involves a comprehensive review of a law enforcement agency's organization, management, operations and administration. The accreditation process begins with a self-assessment examination by the agency to determine whether it complies with all applicable standards. It concludes with an on-site inspection by CALEA assessors and a final review hearing by the commission.
Participation in the CALEA accreditation program is voluntary, but successful completion provides a law enforcement agency with a nationally recognized award of excellence and professional achievement.
Additional benefits of obtaining CALEA accreditation may include more favorable liability insurance costs and increased governmental and community support.
Accreditation is for a period of three years. At the end of the three-year period, an agency must repeat the program to continue accredited status.