Haverhill Police Win Accreditation, Meeting De-Escalation, Use-of-Force, Diversity Standards

Haverhill Police Chief Robert P. Pistone heard from residents throughout the National Night Out event in 2021. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill Police Department is on track to receive national accreditation in a few days, one of few in the state to achieve national Tier I accreditation.

It joins Newton, Fall River, Danvers and a few collegiate public safety departments to achieve accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

“We take customer service and protecting the public incredibly seriously and this national accreditation is proof that we have a professional department, said Police Chief Robert P. Pistone, adding, “It is also a testament to the support that we receive from city government. That we have modern, up-to-date equipment and proper staffing that allows us to have various specialty units so we may provide our citizens with the best possible service and protection.”

The local team leading the accreditation process included Lt. Doreen Champagne, Sgt. Tiffany Clark and Capt. Wayne Tracy.

“It’s a lengthy and intense process that assures we are accountable to the community,” Champagne said. “First we do self-assessment then the CALEA review team comes to review what we’ve done to make sure it meets their standards. Now we have to stay on top of everything and keep making improvements to maintain compliance. It’s an ongoing review that really never ends.”

As WHAV reported last May, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, known as CALEA, was then soliciting public and employee comments on Haverhill’s application and planning a site-based assessment to verify the department meets professional standards. Back in July, newly retired Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro said Haverhill was being recommended for national accreditation this fall. DeNaro said state and federal certifications are among his proudest achievements over his nearly two decades in Haverhill.

Haverhill met 180 standards to receive the national designation, including training officers in the latest national recommendations for “de-escalation, pursuits, use-of-force, prisoner custody, recruiting and diversity.”

“This is a great accomplishment for the department and a testament to the professionalism and dedication that the police chief and all our officers have in being responsible and responsive to the needs of the entire Haverhill community,” Mayor James J. Fiorentini said.

Recent efforts that helped Haverhill police meet the CALEA standards include creating a new behavioral response unit that partners mental health counselors from Leahy Health with officers on service calls involving people with mental illness or in dangerously stressful situations and a wellness program headed by a staff person who works with the city’s police officers on fitness, diet, nutrition, and stress counseling.

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