The South Miami Police Department earned full accreditation from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation on Feb 6.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” City Manager Steven Alexander said. “It’s a statewide commission of law enforcement people. It’s the first time we have gotten it, and we have been in this position since 1927. The cops are just ecstatic about it. This initial time is always a special event. Overall, statewide, less than half [of police departments] are accredited.”
Other police agencies are accredited by other organizations, such as the Virginia-based Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
South Miami was awarded the honor following a three-year review of more than 260 standards for excellent police operations. The department holds the honor for three years and then must apply for re-accreditation.
“To get accredited by an organization like that is really difficult,” said acting Chief Rene Landa. “There were only two agencies at the time that were getting accredited for the first time. It’s a great honor for the department to have that done. It was a big thing for us.”
Chief Landa, Officer Lou Fata, Lt. Ruben Rodriguez, Lt. Larry Corbin, and Sgt. Jesus Aguiar accepted the award. Alexander also attended the ceremony in Jacksonville.
“It means the most to us because it professionalizes our organization and it puts us in the caliber of all of the other organizations that have the same thing,” Chief Landa said.