LUPD Chief Edward Shupp, left, receives the accreditation plaque from Richard Hammon, accreditation project coordinator for the Pennsylvania Police Chiefs Association.
The Lehigh University Police Department (LUPD) has been awarded accreditation certification through the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, becoming just the second university in the state to receive this recognition.
“We wanted to be the forefront leaders in law enforcement among colleges,” LUPD Chief Edward Shupp says. “And this has helped us be in the company of elite officers in the commonwealth.”
Accreditation is available to all police departments in the state, not just those at universities, and the steps involved are quite rigorous. Basically, accreditation status means LUPD successfully completed professional objectives and improved its performance as a team.
Shupp praises his 21 department officers for their dedication to the three-year process in order to attain the coveted accreditation status. They strived as a unit to achieve the required level of professionalism, and they did it by meeting the program’s 123 standards.
As a result, Shupp says, “The department manual went from 120 pages to 800 pages.” It was a change that was accepted by all LUPD officers with enthusiasm, especially because they all had input into the process, he says.
Enhanced recordkeeping, organization and efficiency spurred an increase in overall department proficiency. After the LUPD met program standards, the department held two successful mock assessments. The next step involved a two-day, on-site evaluation of department files by trained assessors, which the LUPD passed with flying colors. Because accreditation is an on-going process, the department is already working on re-accreditation.
Carnegie Mellon is the only other university in Pennsylvania to gain accreditation for its police department.
Being one of only two certified colleges in the state is certainly an honor, but Shupp is hoping that more schools will follow in Lehigh’s footsteps. It’s a time-consuming endeavor, but one that he and his officers feel has been worth the effort.