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Police Department Seeks Reaccreditation

Public hearing attendees praise local police efforts.

A handful of Fairfax City residents and law-enforcement personnel showed up at a public hearing Monday to comment on the performance of the city's police department. The hearing was part of an reaccreditation process that the City of Fairfax Police Department is currently undergoing with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

The Fairfax City police have been accredited by CALEA since 1991, and the renewal for accreditation occurs every three years.

"Over 35 years of living here in the community, I have found the police department to do a good job," said Fairfax resident Wilson Carr at the hearing.

The reaccreditation process verifies that the police department meets professional standards in four basic areas: policy and procedures, administration, operations and support services.

The police officers overseeing the reaccreditation come from out-of-state departments and are assigned by CALEA. The three officers in charge of this year's reaccreditation hail from police departments in Woodbridge, N.J.; Durham, N.H.; and Willowbrook, Ill.

"They use out-of-state people because they don't want any conflict of interest," said City of Fairfax police deputy chief Bill Klugh, in an interview outside of the hearing.

Like the other six citizens who spoke at hearing, George Mason University chief of police Mike Lynch praised the efforts of the City of Fairfax police. Lynch cited the cooperation between the two departments, especially for large events, and help and advice at the administrative level.

"Since we have a common border, we, of course, have some common problems," Lynch said.

Fairfax resident Joseph Beck, who is affiliated with the Fairchester Woods Association and the police chief's advisory council, praised the Fairfax police for their courteousness. He said the police did a good job to responding to community requests, including questions on animal control and junk cars. He also praised the police's connection with the community through Neighborhood Watches, the ride-along program and local schools.

"We have found that support is available to our community at our request, and we are very grateful," Beck said.

The current chairman of the police chief's advisory council, Tom Dodson, thanked the police for their communication skills.

"This department does an outstanding job of listening," Dodson said.

The reaccreditation process, which began last weekend, will last one week. In March, the City of Fairfax chief of police Rick Rappoport will travel with other Fairfax police officers involved in the reaccreditation process to Orlando, Fla., where they will listen to the reaccreditation report and receive reaccreditation.

The public is welcome to send additional comments and feedback, which address the extent to which the police department meets CALEA's standards. A copy of the standards is available at the City of Fairfax Police Department headquarters at the John C. Wood Municipal Complex, 3730 Old Lee Highway.

The public can send comments to the Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA), 10306 Eaton Place, Suite 320, Fairfax, VA 22030-2201.