Police stand outside accreditation hearing in Hilo

HILO, Hawaii: An important part in the Hawaii County Police Department’s quest for Accreditation took place at the County building in Hilo on Monday evening.

Police officers stood at the ready outside the Puna conference room, where public testimony was accepted during a public information session.

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. arrived on the Big Island on August 4th to examine all aspects of the Police Department’s policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services.

According to the police department, the team’s verification that the Police Department meets the Commission’s state-of-the-art standards is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation — which is a highly prized recognition of public safety professional excellence.

To gain accredited status, the Hawaiʻ Police Department must comply with 421 standards.

The public information session was a part of the on-site assessment, and most of the members of the public who spoke are known detractors of the police department – many involved in litigation over what they believe to be wrongful enforcement of marijuana law.

According to a police media release, the assessors are Chief William Benson of the Wheeling Police Department and Sergeant Charles Groover of the Covington Police Department. Once they complete their review, they will report back to the full Commission, which will then decide if the Police Department is to be granted accredited status.

Accreditation is for three years, during which the Police Department must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited.