VCU Police earns international accreditation

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The Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department recently earned full accreditation from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

IACLEA represents more than 1,200 campus law enforcement agencies at colleges and universities in 20 countries. Accreditation by the organization is considered the gold standard for campus law enforcement and is a highly prized recognition of professional excellence in campus public safety.

While the voluntary process typically takes an agency three years to complete, VCU Police Chief John Venuti made accreditation a top priority. The department earned accreditation in 18 months and met 210 professional standards as part of the process.

“Accreditation pulls together and highlights the services we provide to VCU and the accomplishments we’ve achieved,” Venuti said. “This shows the community that we have the highest standards for campus safety practices and that we’re dedicated to keeping VCU safe.”

In July, an assessment team of law enforcement professionals from around the country examined every aspect of how the VCU Police Department functions. The three-person team reviewed all policies and procedures, management practices and operations. They also interviewed sworn and civilian employees and inspected VCUPD facilities.

Accreditation lasts for four years, during which the department must submit annual reports attesting to continued compliance with the standards under which it was initially accredited.

“During the past few years we’ve had a paradigm shift within the police department,” Venuti said. “We’ve reduced officer-involved use of force, we’ve had fewer complaints on our officers and more than 95 percent of faculty, students and staff reported feeling safe in our last perception of safety survey. Accreditation really reinforces all of the hard work we’ve been doing.”  

While VCU Police was accredited in September, Venuti will accept a formal recognition for the department at a conference next summer.