GVPD receives national accreditation for law enforcement standards


Courtesy / GVNext

Joseph Poulos, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University Police Department recently received a prestigious accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), becoming the only college police force in Michigan to earn such a distinction.

The governing body of CALEA strives to meet a strict set of criteria, auditing practices and files for police departments that apply for certification.

Captain Kourosh Khatir of GVPD said the accreditation is indicative of the “high quality” of GVPD’s best practices.

“I think (the community) can know that even though we are a campus law enforcement agency we are fully accredited and in line with any municipality that might have the same standard,” Khatir said. “Currently, we are the only college or university in Michigan that has met this standard. I know some others have state-level accreditation through Michigan, but this is the national standard.”

GVPD’s Accreditation Manager, Sergeant Brian Hedberg, worked to pursue this certification. Hedberg said the accreditation is the “gold standard of law enforcement.” 

“The accreditation is a certification for law enforcement,” Hedberg said. “It is, basically, national and international best practices for law enforcement agencies. They have a set of standards that they require law enforcement agencies to meet.” 

To be considered for accreditation, CALEA must audit and assess the law enforcement agencies’ practices, which include policies and procedures, administration, operations and support services. If an agency’s policy meets these standards, they continue through the process in order to become accredited. 

Hedberg said there are over 180 standards set by CALEA the law enforcement agency must meet. 

“Literally anything you can imagine a police station has to do, they have a standard for it,” Hedberg said. 

The initial award from CALEA lasts for four years. Hedberg said cooperation with CALEA is a continuous process that extends during those four years and beyond. This helps to ensure good practices are being implemented for future considerations as well. 

“During those four years, they audit our files (annually) to make sure we are continuing with compliance and make sure we are trending in the right direction,” Hedberg said. “We go through an onsite assessment every four years to make sure everything is good. They will talk to the community members to make sure we are in compliance with this.”

Khatir said Hedberg was committed throughout the CALEA certification process. Additionally, Khatir said he’s proud to be a part of a department with such high standards.

“It is a real milestone for our department and I think it gives credibility to our department,” Khatir said. “Especially in relation to our peers around the state, I think it goes to affirm our commitment to do the best job we can for the university community. Brian did a tremendous job and got us accredited in less than two years, which is impressive, given that it is usually a longer process.”