UHD Police Department Earns Rare Industry Accreditation
By Laura Wagner
Congratulations to the UHD Police Department (UHDPD) for earning accreditation from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), the leading authority for campus public safety. Valid for four years, accreditation demonstrates UHDPD’s ongoing commitment to excellence and a high level of performance in every aspect of its operations.
Fewer than 100 agencies have earned the prestigious recognition throughout the U.S., making the accreditation almost as much of a unicorn as a university police chief with a doctorate.
The rigorous process, which started over a year ago, required UHDPD to demonstrate compliance with national best-practice standards established by the IACLEA. UHDPD Chief Casey Davis, Ph.D. (right), appointed Lt. Vanessa Garza (below) to lead the department through the required steps. Garza spent months gathering and providing required documentation about processes, staff, funding, facilities, and training. Her exemplary organizational skills, adherence to strict IACLEA guidelines, and thoroughness helped ensure the department’s success. Once those requirements were satisfied, an onsite review was scheduled with the IACLEA Assessment Team in July 2022.
On Nov. 9, UHDPD received the news that the department earned a unanimous recommendation from the onsite Assessment Team based on its 100% compliance with all applicable IACLEA Standards. The standards provide guidance for recruiting, selecting, training, and professionally developing personnel in addition to overall operations.
According to the final report, “The IACLEA Assessment Team was impressed with UHDPD’s personnel and their commitment to the Accreditation Process. Every individual contacted on this onsite assessment was professional, knowledgeable about their area, and enthusiastic about the possibility of becoming accredited by IACLEA.”
Davis said the exhaustive process was truly a team effort, requiring input from every member of UHDPD in some capacity as well as members of the campus community. “Between policy updates, operations improvements, ensuring the public and campus had the opportunity to comment to the assessment team, and hosting the assessors on campus, it was a significant time commitment,” said Davis. “We couldn’t have done it without the support and hard work of the entire UHD Police Department and our campus partners.”
The result was worth every bit of effort. “IACLEA accreditation proves that UHDPD is committed to continuous improvement and to maintaining outstanding operations,” said Davis. “Our team believes maintaining a campus where it’s safe to learn and teach is our fundamental responsibility. Having third-party experts confirm that we follow the very best safety practices is gratifying and proves the depths of our commitment to the campus community.”
“We congratulate UHD on achieving IACLEA Accreditation, a unique distinction among campus police and public safety agencies,” said IACLEA President John Ojeisekhoba, Associate Vice President and Chief of Campus Safety at Biola University. “The men and women protecting your campus have proved through policy and practice the commitment to operate at the highest level of the profession.”
UHD representatives will be recognized for this significant achievement during IACELA’s Annual Conference & Exposition in Orlando, Florida, in June 2023.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students, boasts more than 64,000 alumni, and offers 46 bachelor’s degrees, 11 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences & Technology. For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution, and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.