Houghton’s police department joins an elite group of law enforcement agencies after becoming officially accredited. The Houghton Police Department is one of 63 departments in the state, and one of two now in the Upper Peninsula, to request and obtain this professional standards status. Across Michigan, there are nearly 600 police agencies. Since the state began operating an accreditation program, only ten percent of departments have completed the rigorous tasks to prove an agency’s commitment to public safety and professionalism in policing.
We struggled for a while to get off the ground. Polly was doing her part, but we weren’t getting traction until Corporal Mills joined the team. And he went through all of those proofs. And I was trying to assist him, and within ten minutes of looking at the computer, he told me to get out of the way. And he and Polly, along with all of the officers. This isn’t just a two or three-person effort, everyone needed to make improvements. So I couldn’t be more proud of the department as a whole. – John Donnelly, Chief of Police, Houghton Police Department
The entire accreditation process in the state of Michigan requires multiple years of preparation, even before a third party comes in to evaluate the department. During that process, the department will complete a checklist of nearly 800 total tasks, ranging from proper evidence storage to how officers interact with citizens during traffic stops. Accreditation is a major commitment by any department in the state, as to earn the status, a department must voluntarily bring in the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.
That every single one of the police reforms at police departments, your department has already done. Every single one of those. And I think it’s important to point out, they did this voluntarily. They did this before, they started the process, before calls for reforms were done. So it is quite an accomplishment, I look forward to the day that all of the police departments will follow the lead of the Houghton Police Department. They are the second police department in the Upper Peninsula accredited. And that’s also, they are a leader in the Upper, that I hope your neighbors will follow. I hope they’re jealous of you. I hope you rub it into them. Your department has gone through accreditation, and it prods them to join that process. – Bob Stevenson, Retired Chief Executive Director, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police
Becoming an accredited department took a large work effort by the whole department. With each officer practicing to serve the community better. Accreditation is a promise by the police department to its residents to uphold themselves to the highest professional standards. In three years the MACP will send a team to Houghton’s police department to re-evaluate the department for re-accreditation. A status they will have to continually work toward to achieve.