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Members of the Campus Police Department (CPD)
Members of the Campus Police Department (CPD)

By Abby Weingarten

New College’s Campus Police Department (CPD) has received a $74,972 COPS Grant Award from the U.S. Department of Justice for “Supporting Law Enforcement Agencies in Seeking Accreditation.”

This is a major step as the CPD works toward becoming an International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)-accredited police agency.

“Obtaining federal grant money is no easy task, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to become an IACLEA-accredited police agency,” said CPD Chief Michael Kessie. “This accreditation body focuses on college and university law enforcement standards. There are only three State University System (SUS) of Florida schools currently accredited by the IACLEA.”

The CPD serves and protects New College, the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and the surrounding community. What will accreditation ultimately accomplish for the CPD, and why is pursuing this intensive process (which can take up to three years) so important?

“Accreditation typically includes an extensive review of an agency’s policies, procedures and protocols, as well as an onsite inspection and interviews with key personnel,” said Campus Police Sergeant Jennifer Coley. “There are many benefits of accreditation, but it’s important to note that the benefits to the CPD and to the members of the department are all huge benefits to the community as well.”

Accreditation will increase the CPD’s ability to bolster initiatives like crime prevention programs in the community, build local citizens’ confidence in the effectiveness of the agency, and enhance the CPD’s collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and branches of the criminal justice system.

“Accreditation serves as a yardstick to measure the effectiveness of the agency’s programs and services,” Coley said. “The services provided are defined and uniformity of service is assured. Accreditation also assures employees that every aspect of the agency’s personnel system is in accordance with professional standards, and that the system is fair and equitable.”

Coley and New College’s Office of Research Programs and Services (ORPS) Director Justin Miller were instrumental in securing the COPS (Community-Oriented Policing Services) Grant Award. The funds will go toward civilian employee salaries, sworn officer overtime, staff contracts, accreditation fees, and costs associated with internal training for personnel (as well as any other expenses directly related to the CPD’s ability to obtain accreditation), Coley explained.

“[Accreditation] will standardize the CPD’s standards, general orders and processes in the 215 IACLEA standards—some of which are required (core) and others that are elective,” Kessie said.

The CPD must meet 60 percent of the elective standards in addition to the core standards (use of force, victim services, professional conduct, evidence collection, etc.). While alternative to arrest is an elective standard, Kessie said, the CPD will also pursue this due to its current practice of referring minor infractions to Student Affairs.

In essence, receiving official recognition from the IACLEA symbolizes professionalism, excellence and competence, and the members of the CPD look forward to participating in the accreditation process.

For more information on the CPD, call 941-487-4210 or visit

For more information on IACLEA accreditation, visit

Abby Weingarten is the senior editor in the Office of Communications & Marketing.