The Spring Hill Police Department has met the conditions for certification for the Presidential Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities.
The department announced the certification earlier this month.
Issued by President Donald Trump in June, 2020, the order calls for all state and local law enforcement agency’s use-of-force policies to adhere to all federal, state and local laws, including the prohibition of the use of chokeholds, excluding situations where the use of deadly force is allowed by law.
The president’s order called for “independent credentialing bodies” to review and assess the nation’s police agencies.
“The benefit to the community is that we maintain and update our policies regularly. Use of force is one that is a hot topic,” Det. Michael Foster told The Daily Herald.
“We have updated that one a lot based on state and federal requirements. It means that we have up-to-date policies that are in line with other agencies across the state. It shows that the department is committed to providing professional police service to the community.”
Following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of members of law enforcement, groups in Spring Hill and neighboring Columbia joined a global wave of protests, calling for law enforcement reform and other issues involving systemic racism.
Foster said departments in Tennessee can either seek accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies or the Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation Program.
“CALEA is a national standard and the gold standard for law enforcement, however, it is more expensive to maintain,” Foster said. “TLEA is the state of Tennessee’s standard maintained by the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police.”
Foster said the Spring Hill Department has remained TLEA accredited since 2015.
Neighboring Columbia Police Department seeks accreditation through CALEA.
“We have to maintain compliance with over 160 standards to include use of force, pursuits, patrol operations, etc.,” Foster said. “We have to show compliance with those standards every three years with an on-site visit with assessors.”
The Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and the Peace Officer Standards & Training Commission were named the state’s two accredited organizations reviewing law enfacement agencies in accordance to the president’s order.
Foster facilitated the department’s review.
“This credential allows the SHPD to be eligible to receive federal grants for three years beginning from December of 2020,” he said.
Mike Christen is the multimedia editor for The Daily Herald. Reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @MikeChristenCDH.