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National Team Reviews Police Procedures

Farr sees few obstacles in annual procedure, but one complains at public hearing.

AUG. 28 - A team of assessors from the national police accreditation agency wrapped up their annual trip to Arlington yesterday, with no word on their findings on the county police.

But the head of the three-person team said he found the police department "very accommodating," and the head of accreditation for the Arlington Police Department said he expected the department to sail through the process.

There were few complaints about the department on Monday night, at a hearing to get public input on the operations of Arlington police, where only one person spoke.

Jay Farr, Deputy Chief in charge of accreditation for the police department, said he had spent the last year reviewing the files, training and operating procedures for the department. So he was sure, he said, that everything was in order to meet the accreditation standards of the <a href="http://www.calea.org">Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies</a>.

The national commission, based in Fairfax, ensures that police departments around the country operate at acceptable standards. CALEA was established in 1979, and represents 80 percent of the law enforcement agencies in the country, according to the group’s Web site.

Arlington has a long history with the group, Farr said. "Arlington is the longest-accredited agency in the nation," he said, having first gotten CALEA’s stamp of approval in 1984.

The visit from the assessment group, police officers from Colorado, Vermont and Ohio, was merely to ensure that Arlington was "maintaining its standards," said team leader Ron Ferrell.

<b>FERRELL WOULDN’T SAY</b> what his team had found while reviewing the police department’s files, vehicles and policies. "We have no comments on our findings," he said, because CALEA prefers only to disclose those in its final report.

"But I can say that the agency’s been very professional, very open and accomodating," he added.

The sole speaker on Monday night contested that. John Antonelli, a civic activist and regular speaker at meetings of Arlington’s elected bodies, said he had a hard time even finding out about the hearing.

He cited five concerns about the operations of the police department, especially a high turnover rate in the command staff and problems with the district policing program that Arlington employs.

Farr said he didn’t think the CALEA team would agree with Antonelli. "We’re right on track," he said.