Arizona Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (ALEAP)
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The use of force policies in law enforcement around the country is under fire.
That's why some agencies are taking an extra step so residents know they can count on them.
The San Luis Police Department (SLPD) is on the verge of becoming the first police department in Yuma with this recognition.
When he’s not patrolling the streets of Paradise Valley in Arizona, Commander Freeman Carney is assessing police departments across the state for the Arizona Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (ALEAP).
SLPD is one of the 33 agencies currently working to receive certification from the ALEAP.
Only eight agencies have earned it since 2017.
Commander Carney has 175 directives he’s checking for with a fine-tooth comb, saying, “We’re here for two days and we inspect the whole place. We have access to every part of the [SLPD].”
It’s an exhausting process, seeking proof of the simplest policies and guidelines to the agency’s policing and officer training; especially now that use of force by law enforcement agencies is under the microscope.
Carney said, “[Departments] are proving to the assessor that this is a practice to them. Active shooter training are they doing that? Use of force training are they doing that?”
He added, “It gives employees confidence that we’re working for a good department, that is on the up and up and is doing things the right way."
SLPD Chief Richard Jessup said, “In my personal opinion, I think that [ALEAP] is a great thing simply because it allows the departments to be held more accountable. Not only to itself, not only its city, but to the communities we serve.”
Chief Jessup is also one of the 18 trained assessors in the state.
He believes this accreditation will be key moving forward in order to access funding from the department of justice.
“We don’t have any property taxes. So there really isn’t a general revenue stream that most police departments have,” Jessup said.
SLPD depends on federal grants, Jessup says, “[Federal funds] keeps the community safe takes drugs off of the streets, can introduce educational programs to the schools.”
Once the ALEAP assessment is submitted, it's reviewed by a commission with board members; many of whom come from a variety of career backgrounds to give almost a non-bias decision.