In March 2003, the Department of Criminal Justice Training became the first public safety training academy in the world to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) under its newly created program, Public Safety Training Academy Accreditation. The DOCJT received this prestigious honor in Orlando, Florida during CALEA's March Conference. CALEA implemented this new accreditation in January 2002 to promote superior public safety training academy services and recognize professional excellence.
"The assessors collectively agreed that this training academy is the most professional of such organizations encountered," Jerry D. Stewart, the lead assessor, wrote in his report. "The facilities and equipment employed are truly state-of-the-art. By all appearances, recruit and professional development instruction is current, well-planned and continually monitored."
In July 2006, while achieving its first reaccreditation, the Department of Criminal Justice Training became the first Public Safety Training Academy to be designated a CALEA Flagship Agency, an award that recognizes outstanding achievement in the accreditation process.
CALEA developed the Public Safety Training Academy Accreditation program in response to requests for this service from law enforcement training academies. The program has 182 standards that are organized into nine chapters or topic areas. These areas include organizational structure, human resources, instructional systems and student welfare. The purpose of the program is to foster the best training for public safety officers.
"CALEA accreditation symbolizes professionalism and excellence in our field," said Jerry Belcher, accreditation manager for DOCJT. "After years of hard work, utilizing a teamwork approach by agency employees, the Department of Criminal Justice Training is now recognized as one of the premier public safety training academies in the United States and Canada."
DOCJT was first certified by CALEA in March 1998. The department became the second training academy in the nation to hold such certification. At the time, there was no program aimed specifically at accrediting training facilities. The Department of Criminal Justice Training, along with other training academies across the nation, worked with CALEA to create the new program that would meet that need.
"CALEA has provided many opportunities for DOCJT, its employees and the 10,000-plus clients we serve, to enjoy continuity in program, management, leadership and planning on behalf of the citizens and communities we serve throughout the state of Kentucky," DOCJT Commissioner John W. Bizzack said. "There is no question that CALEA standards and the process of assessment has advanced Kentucky policing and will continue to affect the developments of the Kentucky police community well into the future."