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An Underappreciated Strategy for Improving Policing: Is your law enforcement agency accredited? Probably not, but it ought to be.

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Unlike universities and hospitals, the vast majority of police departments in the United States are not accredited. This is despite the fact that police accreditation has been endorsed by President BidenPresident Trumpthe International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Police Executive Research Forum. Moreover, public opinion research has found that two-thirds of the U.S. adult population supports having their local police department earn accreditation.

Costs —for associated fees as well as for staff resources required to document compliance with standards — are one reason for the low uptake of police accreditation. But an additional reason is that there is little research regarding accreditation’s effectiveness. Consequently, we conducted qualitative interviews with law enforcement personnel who have knowledge and experience with accreditation to identify what they believe are its perceived advantages, if any.

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