The Conyers Police Department withdrew from a professional state certification process after they reportedly realized they would not pass, according to City Manager Tony Lucas.
The State of Georgia Law Enforcement Certification process, created by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, is a voluntary, time-sensitive, rigorous review of law enforcement policies and procedures and those seeking recertification must meet or exceed some 118 standards. Assessors recently spent two days inspecting the files and records of the Conyers police.
The CPD reportedly had discrepancies in three areas out of the 100 standards that applied to Conyers (the other 18 were waived because they did not apply): training, courtroom security and property and evidence.
"We needed more time to get all that information together to meet those standards and we didn't have that time," said Lucas. He said the details of the non-compliant areas would not be available until the final report was released by the GACP sometime next week.
"We are extremely disappointed that the Conyers Police Department has not achieved recertification," said Mayor Randy Mills, in a released statement. "State certification is a voluntary achievement and professional affiliation and in no way impacts service delivery or the police department's authority in law enforcement matters. Citizens can rest assured that individuals responsible for not achieving recertification will be held accountable in this matter."
Lucas said the department could have called for a mock review before the actual review but did not exercise that option.
"If you do not have a mock situation and you call for your assessment, it's a one shot deal. You either pass or you don't pass. You should have all these areas reviewed prior to and you're supposed to be ready and obviously we were not," he said. "It's a full time job and basically we did not devote the time and energy we needed to... We will be pursing it and hope to be reaccredited one year from now."
A withdrawal means the agency cannot apply for certification for another year.
The Conyers Police Department originally earned certification in 2002 and was recertified in 2007. After the first certification, agencies are certified again five years later, and then three years later after that.
Lucas said the department would look at pursing the national law enforcement standards by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) which has more than 400 standards, as well as the state certification.
Recently hired Public Safety Director Gene Wilson had reportedly worked in two agencies that had been CALEA certified, said Lucas.