Dalton Police Department Completes Accreditation Review by CALEA

Dalton Police Department Completes Accreditation Review by CALEA
Chief Cliff Cason (left) and Officer Grant Mantooth (right) stand with CALEA assessor Dan Mills

The Dalton Police Department (DPD) has completed its final step in maintaining international accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), making it one of the few municipal law enforcement agencies in Georgia to hold this distinction. The department underwent an exhaustive on-site inspection this week, conducted by a CALEA inspector, to ensure compliance with the organization’s rigorous standards.

DPD first earned CALEA accreditation in 2013 and has since worked diligently to maintain it.

“In the state of Georgia, there are still only about 50 CALEA-accredited agencies,” said Dalton Police Chief Cliff Cason. In addition to the 29 municipal agencies there are also 12 sheriff’s offices, regional, and state departments with the accreditation. “That’s a very small number when you consider there are more than 1,100 law enforcement agencies in the state. It definitely distinguishes us from many of our peers. It also helps reduce liability and costs for the City as well because insurance carriers look at it very favorably when they determine our liability coverage.”

The accreditation process involves adherence to 461 best practice standards set by CALEA, ensuring policies are consistent with federal law and constitutional policing principles.

“Mr. Mills spoke with or interviewed more than 50 people in the last two and a half days that he’s been here, including officers and employees of the City of Dalton, community leaders, business owners, pastors, and residents,” said Officer Grant Mantooth, the DPD’s accreditation manager.

The on-site inspection, conducted by retired Chief of Police Dan Mills, included interviews with over 50 individuals, including officers, city employees, community leaders, and residents. The inspection serves as the final step in the re-accreditation process, with the department eagerly awaiting CALEA’s decision later this summer.

“One of the biggest advantages of being CALEA-accredited is that it’s a governing body that assures that you’re adhering to best practices for law enforcement. So it makes sure that your policies are consistent with both federal law and the regulations that govern constitutional policing,” said Chief Cason. “It’s a big advantage to have someone from outside that’s constantly looking and serving as a watch dog to make sure that you’re doing things the way they’re supposed to be done and documenting that fact.”

If awarded re-accreditation, it will mark the fourth time DPD has achieved this honor, demonstrating its commitment to excellence in law enforcement.

“As far as the work involved, it’s definitely a full-time job to supervise accreditation,” Mantooth said. “With CALEA there are 461 standards that we have to show proof of meeting every single year. Some of those standards are simple, and some are more complex and have multiple items that I have to show that we are doing. Also, after every conference, CALEA usually has updates to the standards or new standards that we have to study because CALEA is always looking at ways to improve law enforcement.

In addition to CALEA accreditation, Dalton Police Department is also state-certified through the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, further solidifying its dedication to upholding the highest standards in policing.