The CALEA accreditation programs involve a comprehensive review of a law enforcement agency's organization, management, operations and administration. The East Bay Regional Park District Police Department began the accreditation process in 2010 with a self-assessment examination by the agency to determine whether it complied with all applicable standards. It concluded with an on-site inspection by CALEA assessors and a final review hearing by the commission. Participation in the CALEA accreditation program is voluntary, but successful completion provides a law enforcement agency with a nationally recognized award of excellence and professional achievement. The East Bay Regional Park District Police Department received its re-accreditation in July 2013.
On July 20, 2016, in Baltimore, Maryland, the internationally-recognized Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) awarded the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department with its third official accreditation, continuing as one of only sixteen CALEA-accredited agencies in California.
This award was distinguished from the previous two in that it was an “Accreditation with Excellence” award, which is intended to provide agencies an opportunity to be further recognized for the effective use of accreditation as a model for the delivery of enhanced public safety services and management professionalism. East Bay Regional Parks Police was the only California agency recognized at the Maryland conference.
To receive each accreditation, the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department participated in an intense three-year process, complying with over 400 primary and nearly 1,200 overall standards set forth by the commission. These standards touched on every facet of the department from administrative to operational services.
In 2010, Pat O'Brien, General Manager of the East Bay Regional Park District attended the accreditation ceremony. "I'm especially proud of our Public Safety Division under the leadership of Police Chief Tim Anderson," stated O'Brien. "We're one of the few park districts in the nation that has its own sworn police officers. Not only do our officers patrol a vast 100,000+-acre parkland system, they also provide law enforcement services for other agencies and mutual aid assistance for nearly 40 cities in the East Bay."
At peak summer season, the East Bay Regional Park District's Public Safety Division is staffed by over 475 personnel, which includes 160 full-time equivalent employees (69 of whom are sworn police officers who derive their authority under California Penal Code Section 830.1). In addition, the division employs 170 seasonal lifeguards and 186 members of a Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol, and 33ON Call Responder firefighters.
The department includes an Air Support Unit, Marine Patrol, Equestrian Patrol, K-9 Unit, Special Enforcement Unit, Investigations Unit, and a 24-hour-per-day 9-1-1 Communications Center.
"The East Bay Regional Park District Police Department takes pride not only in being a law enforcement agency that has worked hard for this prestigious recognition, but also in being an agency that has earned the respect of its community and the people it serves," stated Chief Anderson.
In its 2010 23-page report, the on-site assessment team concluded, "The members of the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department are very proud of their organization and profession. They strive for excellence and it shows. The success of that effort is readily apparent. The agency has demonstrated that it is compliance with all applicable standards and has rightfully earned a reputation as an excellent police service." The assessors for the 2016 on-site assessment were Deputy Chief Cynthia Aaron of the Burleson Police Department, Texas, and Chief Daniel Boring retired from the Culpeper Police Department, Virginia.
The CALEA accreditation with excellence, which is often likened to a Better Business Bureau stamp of approval for public safety agencies, communications centers and training academies, is valid for four years, at which time an accredited agency will apply for review and its third re-accreditation. "CALEA is actually a business model, a way of conducting business with a critical eye. Our re-accreditation effort for 2020 actually began as soon as our on-site assessment team walked out the door," Anderson said.