After a long, three-year process, the North Bergen Police Department celebrated receiving accreditation from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.
At a press conference hosted on the second floor of police headquarters, Police Chief Robert Dowd explained that the department had to meet or exceed 114 standards to be accredited.
“In order for the department to achieve accredited status, we have to meet or exceed 114 standards laid out by state chiefs and each standard has several subsections. Once extrapolated, you’re talking over 300 benchmarks of what are considered the best practices of the law enforcement profession,” said Dowd.
The police chief also noted several positive changes the department has undergone in recent years, including utilizing around half a million dollars from asset forfeiture funding into turning the old municipal courthouse into a “crime prevention center” where meetings are held and CCTV footage can be reviewed.
Public Safety Commissioner Allen Pascual credited everyone in the room for constantly striving for success.
“I’m working with the chief and the superior officers for the past year-and-a-half plus, going through this process, a tremendous process, a tremendous amount of work that was done by this team here. I can truly say I’m very proud of this moment, as I’m proud of everyone sitting in this room.”
State Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco praised both Pascual and Dowd for aggressively seeking improvements before talking about the township’s commitment to public safety.
“Yes, we have budgetary problems like everyone else, but we elect to spend money in our budget on public safety because, you know, [if] people don’t feel safe in their community, they’re not gonna live here,” stated Sacco.
After the presser concluded, Dowd gave a brief tour of the break room, police desk and the detective bureau before walking across the street for the township board of commissioners meeting.
Here, NJSACOP Accreditation Manager Harry Delgado explained that out of 500 departments in the state, only 170 have been accredited to date, before going into more details about the process.
“Accreditation is a process. The foundation of accreditation lies in the adoption of standards containing a clear statement of professional objectives. Accreditation is a progressive and time proven way of helping law enforcement agencies calculate and improve their overall performances,” began Delgado.
“It is a certification by an independent authority, the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, that the accredited agency was carefully measured as an established set of state and national standards, which is why I support the fact that they are not only one of the best departments in the State of New Jersey, but certainly nationally.”
Delgado also said that the North Bergen Police Department had a “perfect” final NSACOP on-site inspection, one of the final steps before accreditation, that he would personally give a grade of an “A+.”
In June, Dowd received the honor of “Accredited Chief Executive – Chief of Police” from NJSACOP, which was recognized at the next meeting of the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Then in August, the North Bergen Police Department announced that assessors from NJSACOP were examining various aspects of the department as part of one of the last stages of the process.
Locally, the Harrison and Secaucus Police Departments have received NSACOP accreditation as well.