Standards

Accrediting Commission for Law and Justice Education

Campus Law Enforcement  and Security Standards

 

 ACLJE-Logo

Accrediting Commission for Law and Justice Education

926 Enclave Trail, New Braunfels  TX 78132

Tel. 832-876-1954  Email: leader@aclje.org

 

INTRODUCTION


The Accrediting Commission for Law and Justice Education is a private, nonprofit organization that provides program accreditation for law and justice education programs and also offers additional accreditation programs services, such as those developed specifically for campus law enforcement/security organizations. Campus law enforcement/security organizations have had limited opportunities to seek accreditation from outside accreditation organizations that had standards developed specifically for the unique service that campus law enforcement/security organizations often are tasked to provide for the students, staff, visitors to campus, and parents of the educational organizations students. Sensitive to these needs for standards specifically developed for campus law enforcement/security organizations ACLJE presents the following standards and standards manual.

REASONS FOR SEEKING OUTSIDE ACCREDITATION

The campus law enforcement/security organization chief administrative officer might ask why they should seek campus law enforcement/security accreditation through ACLJE.  Although not limited to the short list provided below by ACLJE, some of the reasons that your organization should consider accreditation are:

  • Meeting accreditation standards is a recognition of professional excellence
  • Community and peer recognition of excellence in law enforcement services
  • Pro-active management systems, polices, and procedures documented
  • Stronger, more credible defenses against lawsuits and citizen complaints.
  • Enhances the morale of department personnel
  • Enhances public confidence in campus law enforcement/security.
  • Potentially reduce insurance premiums cost.
  • Accreditation makes a statement to other law enforcement agencies, professions and the community that the campus law enforcement/security organization meets the highest level of standards and professionalism.

ACLJE recognizes that the accreditation process is voluntary on the part of a campus law enforcement/security organization; however the accreditation process should be viewed as an approach by which campus law enforcement/security organizations can be assured that they are meeting or exceeding the high standards demanded by their profession.

When a campus law enforcement/security organization applies for accreditation they are accepting a commitment to demonstrate compliance with the standards of accreditation. The first part of the compliance process is the self-evaluation. In the self-evaluation process the campus law enforcement/security organization will be assessed by a minimum three interested parties: the classified officers of the organization, the civilian staff of the organization, and the school or university administration. This examination process provides all stakeholders with the opportunity to internally examine various aspects of the organization and to identify processes and practices that the law enforcement/security organization is doing right, as well as those which need to be improved upon, before the final accreditation process steps are initiated. After initial accreditation is provided by ACLJE, this process of self-evaluation should continue to remain in place by the campus law enforcement/security organization, as it is recognized that campus law enforcement/security organizations who desire to maintain excellence are continually on the alert for improvements that can be made to their organization.

The primary responsibility of meeting accreditation standards and then continual compliance with accreditation standards remains with the campus law enforcement/security organization seeking accreditation. While the Commission will utilize its own examination processes to determine if the organization is meeting the accreditation standards (such as the onsite team observations) the final accreditation decision is made by the ACLJE commissioners and considers the entire accreditation review process (self-evaluation, site visit results, and Commission investigation and review). Campus law enforcement/security organizations will remain responsible for supplying the Commission with all requested documentation regarding the organizations compliance with the standards, both during the initial accreditation process and on a regular basis, as determined by the accrediting organization.

ACCREDITATION ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

To be considered for accreditation the campus law enforcement/security organization must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • It shall be a campus law enforcement/security organization within an educational institution providing law enforcement/ security services to that entity.
  • The campus law enforcement/security organization should be legally organized and licensed by the appropriate state agency as a law enforcement/security organization within the state.
  • The mission statement of the campus law enforcement/security organization will contain a statement which reflects the organizations intentions to provide law enforcement related services to the organization as well as other organizationally identified stakeholders.
  • The campus law enforcement/security organization shall be in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations set forth by the state’s law enforcement certifying organization.
  • At the time of the initial application the law enforcement organization should be financially sound with appropriate resources for successful operation and discharge of its obligations to students, staff, and other identified stakeholders which it serves.
  • The evaluation for the accreditation process must be authorized by the institution.

 

THE ACCREDITATION PROCESS

Phase One: Initial Accreditation (Self Study)

The campus law enforcement/security organization must first submit an application to ACLJE for the organization along with a letter of intention stating the organization intends to seek full accreditation status with ACLJE.

Once received the application for accreditation will be reviewed by the Commission to determine eligibility of the campus law enforcement/security organization. Before initial approval is given and the accreditation process initiated the Commission must have the original application and any requested supporting documents from the institution (letter of intention).

The campus law enforcement/security organization may choose to schedule a preliminary visit by a Commission representative, who will review the accreditation process in more detail with the organizations representative. With the approval of the campus law enforcement/security organization this meeting may take place in a virtual environment, such as a videoconference.

The campus law enforcement/security organization will then complete the Self-Evaluation Report and submit it to the Commission for review. This is a self-assessment of the campus law enforcement/security organization in which the organization determines current standing in meeting the Commission standards and provides the program with a template in which to work towards future full accreditation status.  The campus law enforcement/security organization also will issue at that time a statement to the Commission that it understands the campus law enforcement/security standards  set out by the Commission and intends to work towards full compliance with the standards set out by the Commission on or before the end of the full accreditation process (3 years). Based upon the self-study report results a decision will be made by the commission whether to offer the campus law enforcement/security organization university initial accreditation status.

The self-evaluation report should also be inclusive of a written organizational effectiveness plan that identifies how the campus law enforcement/security organization plans to assess and provide continuous improvement to its stakeholders. This document should reflect short term objectives that are to be accomplished in order to achieve the mission of the campus law enforcement/security organization along with long term goals for the organization. The purpose of this plan is to not just outline strategic objectives of the campus law enforcement/security organization but also is reflective of the organizations abilities and commitment to completing the evaluation process towards eventual full recognition.

Areas to be included in self-evaluation report and institutional effectiveness plan:

(1) The accreditation standards for initial accreditation:

  1. Administration and Management
  2. The Clery Act
  3. Crime Prevention
  4. Emergency Management
  5. Disciplinary Process
  6. Human Resources
  7. Investigations
  8. Patrol
  9. Records
  10. Training and Development

Note: See accreditation standards for more information regarding the above areas.

Phase Two- Full Accreditation

Upon reviewing the evaluation reports provided to the Commissioners by ACLJE site evaluators and the documentation provided to the Commission by the campus law enforcement/security organization seeking accreditation the Commissioners will then make a final decision regarding full accreditation and recognition status. This final accreditation decision will be made by a minimum of three of the Commissioners, selected at random by the Executive Director of ACLJE to review the campus law enforcement/security organization.

If a decision is made not to grant full accreditation and recognition status the Commission will provide the campus law enforcement/security organization with documentation of the Commission decision  and the organization will be given the opportunity to comply with the standard(s) that are not being made within 12 months from the original Commission decision date.

The program may also file an appeal of the Commission decision within 30 days of the date the decision was made for non-full accreditation status. Upon receipt, the ACLJE Commissioners will be called upon to review the programs appeal and make a final decision on granting full accreditation.

Accreditation Withdrawn

The withdrawal of accreditation may take place upon the expiration of an existing grant of accreditation or accreditation may be withdrawn before it expiration date.

 

Revocation

Can occur for the following reasons:

  1. A campus law enforcement/security organization may notify ACLJE that it is no longer providing campus law enforcement/security/security services for the employing educational organization.
  2. The campus law enforcement/security organization has been suspended for cause by ACLJE and does not challenge the suspension within 30 days receipt of the suspension notice.
  3. The campus law enforcement/security organization fails to submit the required annual report to ACLJE.
  4. The institution fails to pay any annual renewal fees or other required fees assessed by ACLJE.

Revocations may not be appealable and require that the campus law enforcement/security organization start the accreditation process again, undergoing the entire accreditation process to regain accreditation.

Suspension

Suspension may occur when, in the judgment of the ACLJE the campus law enforcement/security organization no longer complies with the standards or other criteria set forth by ACLJE.

 

 

Examples of reasons for suspension:

  1. The campus law enforcement/security organization is determined by ACLJE to not be in compliance with Commission criteria.
  2. Annual reports filed by the law enforcement/security organization fail to conform to Commission requirements.
  3. The program is non-responsive to Commission attempts to schedule a site visit and complete the evaluation process.
  4. The program has deviated from requirements and directive set forth by ACLJE.

Show Cause Directive:

If a campus law enforcement/security organization is subject to suspension actions the organization will be provided in writing with alleged deficiencies and invited to “show cause” why its accreditation should not be suspended.  It may be possible that the organization can show the ACLJE that it has corrected the deficiencies upon which the directive was based. The executive director of ACLJE may lift the show cause directive if, in their opinion, the organization provided sufficient documentation that the noted deficiencies have been rectified by the campus law enforcement/security organization.

Guarantees:

Any campus law enforcement/security organization that is subject to suspension is guaranteed the following procedural rights:

  1. The opportunity to have a hearing before the commission on any issue related to the commissions standards or processes and procedures set forth by the commission.
  2. Be provided with written notice before any hearings are held, any charges are levied, and a notice of the campus law enforcement/security standards deficiencies that may be in question.
  3. The right to a copy of the decision made by the Commission and reasons for the ultimate decision.
  4. If the Commission withdraws accreditation by way of suspension, the appeal shall be deemed to be finally disposed of upon issuance of the decision.

COMPLAINT PROCESS

Any campus law enforcement/security organization that has been accepted into the initial accreditation process or has been accredited by the ACLJE will be afforded a complaint policy to accept, address, and respond to any complaints received by an eligible party.

Any formal written complaint received will be reviewed in a timely manner by the Commission. In certain cases the complaint may be forwarded to the appropriate state or federal licensing organization if appropriate and if the complaint addresses matters over which the organization has authority.

The Commission will not be involved in any individual case of disciplinary actions taken against organizations employees unless the context of the complaint indicates unethical or unprofessional actions that may seriously impair or disrupt the campus law enforcement/security organization services of the primary or post-secondary educational institution.

How to file a complaint:

  1. All complaints to the Commission must be received in written format and include a detailed explanation of the violation and the specific standard in question.
  2. Complaints, as a minimum, should include:
    • A statement of the allegation of non-compliance with ACLJE standards;
    • All names, dates, and a brief description of the actions forming the basis for the                       complaint.
    • Any supporting documents or materials that may support the complaint.
    • A signed release form authorizing the Commission to forwards a copy of the complaint, including the identification of the complainant, to the chief of police, director of law enforcement services, or authorized representative of the organization.
  1. c) The Commission will acknowledge receipt of all complaints within a ten day period from time the complaint was received.
  2. d) An initial review will be done by the Commission of the complaint to determine whether the complaint that is alleged is related to the organizations accreditation standards or requirements. After an initial review if the Commission finds the complaint to not be under the authority of the Commission or the accreditation standards the Commission will notify the complainant of such and the matter will be closed.
  3. e) The response from the campus law enforcement/security organization should indicate all defenses to the allegations and should also include any documentation or other supporting materials the organization deems necessary to demonstrate compliance with accrediting standards.
  4. f) The Commission may require at any time during the investigation phase of a complaint that the complainant or the campus law enforcement/security organization provide the Commission with additional information to resolve the complaint. If a request is made to a party or a program for more information the parties have 30 days from the date the correspondence was mailed to the respective parties to respond with the additional requested information. If this information is not received within the 30 day window any additional information that is received may not be considered as a part of the complaint.

Complaint Actions:

  • At the conclusion of the complaint investigation if a finding is made against a campus law enforcement/security organization that establishes non-compliance action may be taken against the organization ranging from suspension to full revocation of accreditation.
  • If the complaint is unfounded or is found not to address the accreditation standards of the commission the matter will be closed by the Commission and all parties notified of such action.
  • The commission will inform complainants of the status of their complaint as well as final resolution by the Commission. A copy of this correspondence will also be sent to the complainant for their files.

EVALUATION TEAM

The initial evaluation team will consist of experienced campus law enforcement/security professionals selected and approved by the Commission. In the early stages of the evaluation process the evaluation team will review documentation provided to the ACLJE by the campus law enforcement/security organization to determine whether it should be granted initial recognition status. The end goal of the evaluation team is to ascertain whether the campus law enforcement/security organization in fact have met or exceeded the program objectives and the accreditation standards set by the Commission. A minimum of three ACLJE Commissioners will then review all documentation and will make the final decision of whether to grant the organizations initial accreditation status.

The size and composition of the evaluation team will be at the discretion of the Commissioners and is normally based upon the size of the campus law enforcement/security organization seeking accreditation.  All evaluators will be selected from among a pool of experienced campus law enforcement/security executives, all of which have extensive experience at the management level within campus law enforcement/security organizations from around the nation.

A staff member of ACLJE may accompany the evaluation team to any on-site visits in order to assure consistency, to provide technical assistance and guidance on accreditation standard, and to serve as a liaison between on-site evaluators and the Commission. If a staff member cannot accompany the site evaluators a qualified contractor may be substituted.

Expenses for all team members and any staff members that may accompany the evaluation team and an honorarium for team evaluators shall be paid by the campus law enforcement/security organization seeking accreditation (see fees explanation located in the appendix of the standards). The campus law enforcement/security organization is required to submit a deposit prior to the visit, which will be applied toward the expenses of the evaluation team.

POST VISIT PROCESS

After the initial evaluation report is completed the ACLJE office will send a copy of the report to the campus law enforcement/security organization chief, director of law enforcement services, or other designated administrative person supplied to the ACLJE by the organization for their review and comment. The chief or director of law enforcement services,  or other designated administrative personnel, will then be provided with a time frame by ACLJE in which to respond in writing regarding the initial evaluation findings if they so desire. In this correspondence the chief or director of law enforcement services, or other designated administrative personnel, should also indicate the campus law enforcement/security organizations commitment to comply with all standards of the commission and its intentions to seek full recognition status within the given time frame (3 years).

The Commission will also be provided with the campus law enforcement/security organization self-evaluation report, any organizational response to the original evaluation reports, and any reports provided from state and federal regulatory organizations if applicable.

COMMISSION ACTIONS

Any actions by the commission regarding accreditation or renewal or accreditation is to be made in consideration of evaluators reports, the campus law enforcement/security organization self-evaluation report, any organizational written response to the original evaluation reports,  and any reports provided from state and federal regulatory organizations. At any stage of the process the seriousness and scope of any identified deficiencies will be taken into account before a final decision for accreditation or continuing accreditation is made. The organizations willingness to make changes where deficiencies are noted and their ability to overcome such deficiencies will be considered in any decision to move forward with the accreditation process.

MAINTENANCE AND CONTINUATION OF ACCREDITATION

It is expected that the campus law enforcement/security organization who is successful in the final accreditation process will maintain, on a continuing basis, the activities and processes which led to the organization being provided accreditation status by ACLJE.  Each law and justice program will provide an annual report to the Commission regarding ongoing accreditation efforts.  After full accreditation status is granted the Commission will require a site visit by commission evaluators every 5 years to retain full accreditation status.

Any problems noted by the campus law enforcement/security organization, and any solutions offered, will be supplied in an annual institutional report to the Commission, due on or before December 31st of each year. This annual report should be signed by the chief or program director of the law or justice program. Failure to submit this report may result in revocation of the institutions accreditation.

All campus law enforcement/security organization wishing to continue accreditation are required to pay annual accreditation fees, evaluation visits deposits and expenses, and other assessed costs on or before the anniversary date of the institutions original accreditation by ACLJE (see fees review form).