Clarion University police earn reaccreditation

From staff reports

The Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association has confirmed reaccreditation of Clarion University’s police department.

“In higher education, accreditation is widely understood as a positive acknowledgment that work is being done the right way,” the university’s police chief, Jason Hendershot, said in a news release.

The department is one of eight university police departments in the state and the only department in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education to attain the status. The department was assessed on 135 standards. Among the accreditation standards is a mandate for departmental policy to address bias-based policing through training for new hires and for all officers during every three-year accreditation cycle, according to Hendershot.

The department is required to maintain and examine statistics for indications of bias, as well as to examine demographic information for the university and the region for comparison with arrest and traffic-stop statistics.

“Most of the officers see the (accreditation) as getting everyone on the same page as opposed to having different officers handle work processes differently,” Hendershot said.

“We drill down on each individual arrest to ensure it is based on probable cause. Through the accreditation process, we have several stages in which we review this information as an ongoing practice.”

Clarion’s department includes eight full-time officers, a security guard and three dispatchers/administrative staff.

Of the approximately 1,117 law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania, only 126 – or 10% – have been accredited, according to the release.