The Wenatchee Police Department (WPD) has successfully completed an accreditation program through the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC).

Capt. Edgar Reinfeld says completing the program certifies that the department is operating to the best of the state's current standards for law enforcement agencies.

"It's a validation of best practices in law enforcement that encompasses 145 standards and it's also tied to another national accreditation standard that's much more exhaustive. It's relatively common for agencies to be accredited, though only about one-third of the agencies in Washington carry this."

The program involves an eight-phase process over several months and is awarded for a four-year period.

Reinfeld says the WPD was last accredited in 2019 and this round was slightly more involved due to continuing changes to state police standards.

"The standards are fairly rigorous and it's changes in law that drive changes in standards. A good example would be pursuit laws, which changed twice during this accreditation period. And provided that it was in compliance with the law at the time, it meets standards. But it didn't particularly make it more difficult, it just meant that there was a little extra work to do at different points in time during this last four-year window."

The benefits of accreditation include administrative and operational effectiveness, fair recruitment and employment practices, better records management, improved use of technology, health and safety, training, codes of conduct, and prisoner security.

The Washington Legislature originally outlined a process for establishing law enforcement standards in 1976.

The Wenatchee Police Department will next be eligible for accreditation in 2027.

The current WASPC program is continually updated and is complimentary to the national Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) guidance.

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