Haverhill Police Earn State Accreditation; Department Meets Wide Range of Standards

Haverhill Police Department Deputy Chief Anthony Haugh, left, and Chief Alan R. DeNaro speak at a city Administration and Finance Committee in 2018. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The Haverhill Police Department recently became one of only 94 departments in the Bay State to be accredited by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Committee.

Being accredited means the department meets all of the standards set forth by the MPCA, an agency that has developed guidelines to ensure police departments are providing the highest possible services to the public. Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro says the hard-won accreditation is timely.

“In this time in our country, accreditation is more important than ever. It provides departments a clear-cut plan on how to conduct law enforcement operations, best practices, safety training and accounting. All of the things that go along with being a transparent agency is having these guidelines in place to make sure that you’re constantly doing the best things that you can to provide superior services to the public,” he explains.

The process, which included about 345 standards, began with a self-assessment by the department. That was followed by an external peer review by Commission-appointed assessors. The entire process took the department just over two and a half years to complete.

Lt. Doreen Champagne, who is responsible for accreditation, tells WHAV it included a very detailed look at the department’s policies.

“We had to cover 159 standards to hit certification. Then, from there, we chose to do the accelerated program, and within a year we hit additional standards that would bring us up to full accreditation, and that’s the one we were just awarded,” she notes.

She explains the standards focus on issues such as use-of-force policies, personnel training, firearms qualification, evidence control and emergency response planning.

Accreditation needs to be reassessed every three years to be maintained. The chief says, however, this is only a step towards the department’s ultimate goal.

“We are in the process of self-assessment for CALEA accreditation which is a national, or actually, an international organization that accredits police departments around the world,” the chief adds.

Currently, there are only two police departments in Massachusetts—Danvers and Fall River—that have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

Champagne called the new award the result of a department-wide effort, saying it simply could not have been accomplished without every member of the force doing their part.

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