LAPD goes under the microscope

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Inspection will determine if the police department is suitable for state accreditation

By Carol A. Clark

Four law enforcement auditors are set to arrive in town Tuesday on a three-day mission to scrutinize the Los Alamos Police Department.

The auditors are independent, trained professionals from across the state who will assess the department’s compliance with a set of 217 standards required for accreditation with the State of New Mexico.

LAPD has been involved in the voluntary process of state accreditation for more than two years and next week will determine how well it has done.

“This is part of our commitment to excellence and our goal to provide the community with the best law enforcement services that promote an atmosphere of safety and security both for our citizens and visitors,” Chief Wayne Torpy said.

“Participation in this long arduous process enhances the overall efficiency of the department and the services we provide. Our commitment to accreditation is also reflective of our desire as a department to continue to be on the leading edge of law enforcement.”

The program was initiated through a cooperative effort between the New Mexico Municipal League, the New Mexico Self-Insurers’ Fund and the New Mexico Association of Chiefs of Police.

LAPD has been evaluating how it can provide the highest level of service to the community, Torpy said.

The process requires the department to compare its policies and procedures against best practices in law enforcement. These best practices are comprised of the 217 standards, which cover four general areas — administration, operations, personnel and training.

During the self evaluation of its policies and

procedures in light of those standards, the LAPD was able to determine areas where changes needed to be made in the policies as well as how services were delivered to the community, Torpy said.

He added that this can be as simple as creating a more efficient filing system.  

“As an organization, we’re excited about Tuesday’s accreditation inspection,” Torpy said. “This has been a two-and-a-half year endeavor and has involved a lot of hard work by our staff to get here. We believe that we are very prepared and look forward to reaching a milestone for the department.”

Accreditation does not end with evaluation, he said.

It is an ongoing process that will ensure LAPD keeps pace with the continual changes in law enforcement.