Birmingham Police Department earn seal of approval from chiefs association

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 8, 2021

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BIRMINGHAM — It’s been years of paperwork, exams, training and careful scrutiny from the state’s top cops, but the result was well worth the wait: The Birmingham Police Department has earned its accreditation through the Michigan Law Enforcement Accreditation Program.

The Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police was in attendance for the Birmingham City Commission’s Aug. 23 meeting, where the agency presented Police Chief Mark Clemence with the official certificate of accreditation.

“As chief of police, it is my duty to ensure we deliver the highest quality standards, transparency with the public and meet the needs and expectations of our citizens. This program goes a long way to ensure we do all of those things,” said Clemence as he accepted the recognition. “The men and women who serve this department work extremely hard, and I could not be more proud of them.”

Just 6% of Michigan’s law enforcement agencies have earned the accreditation, including Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Sterling Heights and the University of Michigan police. The process involves compliance with 105 standards outlined by the MLEA commission, verified by site visits, residential input, internal interviews and more.

The benefit of completing the process, aside from bragging rights, is that the department is considered by insurers to be a reduced risk and liability exposure, has a stronger standing in courts during possible civil lawsuits, has access to more community advocacy resources, and earns a general tip of the cap from Michigan’s police chiefs that can serve to give residents a bit of extra confidence in their law enforcement agency.

City Manager Tom Markus congratulated the department for its hard work to earn the accreditation.

“We have an excellent Police Department that has enhanced their professionalism by obtaining this accreditation,” Markus said in an email. “They worked hard to meet more than a hundred state and national best practice standards, and our community will benefit from their achievement.”

The MLEA commission voted unanimously to approve Birmingham’s accreditation.

“The assessment team is composed of law enforcement practitioners from similar Michigan law enforcement agencies,” said Michigan Association of Police Chiefs Program Manager Neal Rossow in an earlier interview with the Eagle. “The assessors review written materials, interview agency members, visit officers and other places where compliance standards can be observed.”

To learn more about the program, visit the city’s website at bhamgov.org/policeaccreditation.

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