Lynchburg Police being audited this week to maintain accreditation

The organization CALEA inspects all accredited departments every three years

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Lynchburg Police Department is being audited this week in order to maintain its accreditation. The non-profit Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA, is making sure the department is keeping up with 484 different standards. Monday night, the public got to comment as part of that review.

The department has seen several changes since it was last re-accredited three years ago. Some are receiving praise, others drawing concern. Earlier this year, WSLS told you about the deteriorating physical conditions of the buildings the Lynchburg Police Department operates out of. Police say that will play a factor, but so will the new Community Action Team that was put in place in 2015.

"I've been incredibly impressed," said Kathy Gerber, one of the several Monday evening singing the praises of the Lynchburg Police Department.

"They're friendly and nice with the community, but on the other hand, they're not lax on actual crime, so there's, that's actual police work," said Gerber.

Gerber says it all ties to the work police have been committed to doing in the community.

"You have committed community members, very committed community members, and you also have police that are very committed, and their collaboration is key," said Gerber.

CALEA representatives say that will play a role in the accreditation decision.

"There is an area of crime prevention, community involvement that that directly relates to," said CALEA representative Philip Potter.

But behind the walls of the department, we learned earlier this year Lynchburg Police work in deteriorating conditions. Part of one building is condemned, in others, police work in makeshift offices, but Accreditation Manager Brandon Isner is staying positive.

"They obviously look at it, because it does present some challenges to the department, being spread across multiple buildings, but it's not something that is going to hurt us necessarily," said Isner.

The accreditation is important, not only for community trust, but according to City Attorney Walter Erwin, it also lowers what companies charge Lynchburg for insurance on the department.

"They take accreditation into consideration as one of the factors in determining what your insurance premiums should be," said Erwin.

Gerber says, in the coming days, she hopes the auditors will focus on the positives of the Lynchburg Police Department. 

"They're doing something right here, and maybe there's a way to communicate that to other jurisdictions in other cities and counties, because I think it's exemplary," said Gerber.

If you didn't make it out to the meeting Monday night, you also have an opportunity to call CALEA at (434) 455-6182 to comment about the department Tuesday between the hours of 2pm and 4pm.