Portales police receive second state accreditation

Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

The Portales Police Department is the first in the state to receive its second accreditation.

The five-year accreditation was granted Aug. 26, according to a press release from New Mexico Municipal League. And it is the second benchmark in this arena for the city’s finest.

Portales police were the first in the state to receive accreditation five years ago.

“We’re proud of it,” said Police Deputy Chief Lonnie Berry. “Being the first in the state was a pretty big benchmark for us.”

Police Chief Jeff Gill and accreditation manager Capt. Scott Chambers spearheaded the effort.

Berry said accreditation makes sure the department is consistent in practices and adheres to written policies.

“The second thing it does, it gives us a break on insurance,” Berry said. “If you’re doing your policies correctly, then your insurance looks at you more favorably. One of the small things is, we are required to wear reflective vest when we are working accidents.”

Mayor Orlando Ortega Jr. said he is very proud of the department for the re-accreditation.

“It definitely is something to be proud of,” Ortega said. “It demonstrates our police department is very well prepared to handle any public safety issues that come before them.”

Accreditation is an ongoing process of evaluating a department’s policies and procedures against national standards. Independent groups and other authoritative bodies verify the efforts.

The program started in 2002, when the need for accreditation was recognized, according to Berry.

Seven other departments have achieved initial accreditation, including Alamogordo, Aztec, Belen, Bloomfield, Hobbs, Santa Fe and Taos. Several others, including Clovis police, are working toward that status, according to the press release.