The Coconut Creek Police Department is pursuing the highest goal attainable for Florida law enforcement agencies by applying for accredited status through the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation. Achieving accredited status would mean that the department meets or exceeds standards promulgated by CFA for Florida law enforcement in transparency, accountability and professionalism.

“We view accreditation as a covenant with our citizens and elected leaders—proof positive that they are receiving an exceptional return on investment for their tax dollar,” says Albert “Butch” Arenal, chief of police.

A team of three assessors will spend three days at the department in late August doing everything from viewing a static display of all the department’s equipment to conducting interviews and ride-alongs with officers as they answer calls for service.

“These are three top-notch law enforcement executives who will be coming here and they’ll be conducting a very thorough, top-to-bottom review of our facilities, personnel, policies and procedures,” Arenal says. “These law enforcement professionals know what to look for and understand best practices when they see them.”

Several Coconut Creek officers, including Chief Arenal, are trained as assessors and/or team leaders, and they have been helpful in preparing for the CFA visit. The department has an accreditation manager as well as a team of officers who have been working to make sure all policies, procedures and practices are contemporary and compliant. When the department is accredited, it will be one of only about 30 percent of law enforcement agencies in the state to achieve what is known as the gold standard of law enforcement accreditation. The process is voluntary.

Accreditation increases officers’ ability to prevent crime through a more efficient delivery of services to the community they serve. It also bolsters the agency’s position with respect to civil lawsuits by proving standards compliance with established best practices. Part of the on-site assessment will include a public comment session that will be advertised in advance, giving citizens the opportunity to have a voice in the accreditation process. Accreditation enhances the strong foundation the department has already laid within Coconut Creek, in which neighbors and officers work together to make a true difference in our communities.

“There’s an exciting synergy going on right now between the amazing people within our organization and our community,” Arenal says. “Accreditation will only build upon that positive momentum and will take us to the next level as service providers. I could not be more proud of the men and women of the Coconut Creek Police Department.”