ELIZABETHTON — Friday was the culmination of years of work for the Elizabethton Police Department.
It was the day when the department was evaluated for state accreditation and every officer and every piece of equipment was immaculate.
Part of the accreditation process included a static display at the Elizabethton Municipal Airport. The display included each division within the department. Every officer stood at parade rest, his or her uniform neatly pressed and all of the equipment polished and shining. Even police dog Kero was alert and obviously ready to spring into action.
“This is a good day for our department,” Chief Matt Bailey said. “This display is a little sample of everything we do. It has taken a lot of work by everyone, and everyone in the department had to buy into it.”
While the static display was impressive, Bailey said it was only an optional part of the evaluation process. The real work was to inspect the extensive files of general orders, policies and standard procedures. This is the area the department has been preparing for a number of years.
Bailey said one of the goals of accreditation is to have the department meet high standards and to have the department’s procedures conform to a standard doctrine that other accredited departments also follow. In this way, departments can work together in mutual-aid situations.
The department began working toward accreditation several years ago, when Roger Deal was the chief of police. Bailey said much of the work was completed, but the difficult economic conditions led to a decision to stop the expensive process. Many of the general orders and other documents had already been written under the direction of the department’s accreditation manager, Elonza Perkins.
Bailey said he recently attended a meeting of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police. During the meeting, he learned of a new accreditation program being offered for state police departments. The fees and other costs of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation were much lower than the national accreditation.
Bailey said the fees were not only affordable, but the city will actually profit from the investment because the city’s liability insurance premium will be lowered by more than the cost of the accreditation.
Friday was not only a good day for the department, it was also a good day for Deal. The former chief started the effort to attain accreditation and he was pleased to see all the department’s hard work finally paying off.