Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies

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.

Accreditation Program

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.

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