Point Pleasant Beach Police Department Achieves Accreditation
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ – The Point Pleasant Beach Police Department has recently achieved a significant milestone by becoming the 300th law enforcement agency to go through the rigorous accreditation process facilitated by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP). This achievement highlights the department’s commitment to maintaining the highest professional standards and industry best practices in its internal policies and procedures.
Police Chief Robert Kowalewski expressed gratitude for the strong support received from the Township Council, emphasizing the department’s goal of improving overall performance and increasing accountability to residents. As a summer tourism community, Point Pleasant Beach sees a substantial increase in its police force during the summer months, with nearly 100 officers serving a town of only 5,000 year-round residents. Maintaining a family-friendly environment is of utmost importance, and adhering to best practices within the police department is a key objective in achieving this goal.
Earning accreditation is no small feat, as it requires the full commitment of law enforcement officers at all levels of the department. Under the NJSACOP accreditation process, regular inspections are conducted by accreditors over a two-year assessment period. The accreditation, which expires within three years, necessitates ongoing compliance with a multitude of requirements. South Brunswick Police Chief Ray Hayducka, who undertook the accreditation process in 2007, attests to its worthiness. His department, comprised of 89 sworn officers, was among the first in New Jersey to undergo this rigorous process.
Hayducka acknowledged the initial uncertainties surrounding accreditation and the need to explain its benefits to the Township Council. However, he emphasized that the process has proven to be an invaluable tool for the department. Achieving accreditation has enabled them to recruit high-quality police officers, reduce liability, decrease lawsuits, and elevate the police force to the status of a model agency. Additionally, the department has witnessed a continuous reduction in insurance costs, further highlighting the positive impact of accreditation.
With a community of 48,000 residents, 80% of whom are college-educated, the South Brunswick Police Department recognizes the significance of professionalism and self-checking. Accreditation has been a selling point for recruitment, and township leaders have acknowledged the need to fairly compensate police departments that adhere to best practices. The NJSACOP Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (NJSACOP LEAP), administered by Program Director Harry J. Delgado, Ed.S., ensures the implementation of program standards through the work of assessment team leaders and field representatives.
Delgado stresses that NJSACOP LEAP accreditation does not guarantee error-free policing or crime-free communities, nor does it prevent citizens from suing police departments and their leaders. Instead, accreditation serves as a progressive and time-tested method for enhancing overall law enforcement performance. By adopting clear standards and objectives, participating agencies undergo thorough self-analysis to identify areas that can be improved to meet these critical benchmarks. Trained, independent assessors then verify the successful implementation of these standards.
Montville Police Chief Andrew Caggiano, who guided his department through the accreditation process in 2013, has witnessed the positive outcomes firsthand. The process revealed outdated policies and procedures, prompting necessary updates and improvements. The department also capitalized on the opportunity to acquire new technologies that enhance policing within their 20-square-mile suburb. Internal affairs complaints have decreased, lawsuits have diminished, and community relations have improved, fostering greater trust between the police force and residents.
In Voorhees, Police Chief Lou Bordi champions NJSACOP LEAP accreditation. Voorhees received accreditation in 2019 and maintained it in 2022, with Berlin Township currently undergoing the initial process under Bordi’s guidance. Bordi highlights the financial benefits of accreditation, as insurance companies often grant funds to more professional police departments, thereby reducing insurance premiums. Independent assessors provide invaluable insights into department operations, identifying areas of strength and areas in need of improvement. The ultimate goal is to exceed industry best practices, ensuring the provision of a highly professional service to the community.
The achievement of accreditation by the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department serves as a testament to their dedication to excellence in law enforcement. By adhering to the highest professional standards and implementing industry best practices, the department continues to enhance its performance and accountability to the community it serves. For more information on the NJSACOP LEAP accreditation program, visit NJSACOP.org.