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Police allowed to go after professional accreditation

If approved, will be first agency in county

City Council gave Williamsport police permission Thursday to begin what is expected to be an 18-month-long process of reaching a professional accreditation.

Such standards are set by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association based in Harrisburg.

The first step includes getting the resolution of agreement between the city and PowerDMS, a software package provider, that will cost an estimated $6,500-plus a year.

“Accreditation will update operations on how we collect and prepare evidence, prepare cases, track subpoenas and conduct disciplinary policy in keeping with highest standards in our industry,” city police Chief Damon Hagan said.

No agency other than state police is accredited in Lycoming County, Hagan said.

“We would be the first agency in the county,” he said.

There are 117 agencies with accreditation in the state, including State College Police Department, Hagan said.

The accreditation will cover the department as a whole, including rank and file, he said.

The first step is the application, followed by self-assessment and then an inspection, he said.

Councilwoman Liz Miele noted how she was told during the finance committee meeting that the accreditation would help the city to run an efficient department regardless of who is in charge.

The cost of increase for the program amounts to $200 each year, she said.

The software package provides police with a system of tracking documentation such as subpoenas and training.

The program enables “mock assessments,” or practice assessments, and allows agencies to check on files digitally from any distance.

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