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During Monday night’s City of Thomasville Council meeting, LaGrange Police Chief, and former chairperson of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc., Louis Dekmar formally presented Thomasville Police Department with the Gold Standard of Accreditation with Excellence Award. For TPD Chief Troy Rich, receiving the award acknowledged the joint effort of his entire department toward earning this distinction.

According to Chief Rich, obtaining the Gold Standard signifies that TPD is an elite organization.

“The Gold Standard is proof that our officers, day in and day out, are committed to the best practices in modern law enforcement,” Rich said. “This award is achieved only through a team effort and from a commitment by all of my officers to serve the community with nothing less than their best.”

During his presentation, Chief Dekmar spoke about the rigor of the accreditation process, stating, “It is not a rubber stamp process; of the over 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the country, less than 1,000 are accredited.”

Chief Dekmar went on to say that “the Thomasville Police Department has further distinguished itself by receiving the Gold Standard Accreditation with Excellence Award, which is awarded to about 10 percent of the accredited agencies.”

The criteria for achieving accreditation through CALEA is a rigorous process that reviews every area of a law enforcement agency, achieving the Gold Standard of Accreditation with Excellence Award takes an already involved and detailed process and holds those agencies to an even higher degree of accountability. Some of the areas that are reviewed include patrol/traffic, community relations, training and evidence.

“The process we underwent was much more in-depth than the standard file review,” Thomasville Police Chief Troy Rich said. “CALEA representatives performed site visits which included thorough checks and multiple staff interviews to ensure we were adhering to all 348 applicable standards.”

The accreditation process was managed by Lieutenant Kathy Baillargeon. Chief Rich acknowledged that Lt. Baillargeon’s efforts were key in achieving reaccreditation and being named a Gold Standard recipient. “She did an outstanding job of managing the entire process,” he added.

CALEA accreditation is a voluntary, national program that operates on a three-year award cycle. The program is a joint effort between CALEA and four major law enforcement executive membership associations: the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriff's Association and the Executive Research Forum. Thomasville Police Department first acquired CALEA accreditation in 1987 and has maintained that accreditation through all subsequent reviews.

“As a fellow Georgia police chief and friend, I am particularly proud of Chief Rich and his agency’s commitment to professional police services, which is recognized not only throughout Georgia, but throughout the United States,” Chief Dekmar said.