The Lehigh University Police Department (LUPD) was recently reaccredited under the provisions of the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (PLEAC) of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. The university remains one of only three university police departments in the state to have earned accreditation.
The recognition by the PLEAC followed a two-day, on-site evaluation by a team of assesors that analyzed the department’s procedures, policies, operations and management. The team also reviewed written materials and incorporated on-site observations drawn from campus interviews and visits, said LULPD Chief Edward Shupp.
“It’s an extremely thorough, top-to-bottom examination of the entire department and our operations,” he said.
Accreditation allows the LUPD to retain its place among an elite corps of professional law enforcement agencies throughout the state that have demonstrated excellence and professionalism in the delivery of law enforcement services to the community in which it serves, according to the PLEAC.
John Smeaton, vice provost for the student affairs division, which includes the LUPD, said the achievement of reaccreditation “affirms the quality of our police department and underscores Lehigh’s commitment to promote campus safety.”
A model for organization, training and discipline
In the reaccreditation report, the assessment team’s leader, Randolph G. Cox, described the LUPD as a “model university police agency” that is “well-organized, trained, disciplined and effective,” and which employs modern equipment and progressive procedures to ensure compliance with best practice methods, statutes and case law.
Cox said his team found in the LUPD a “spirit of service and dedication to the community it serves that is unequaled.”
It was the accreditation team’s opinion that, as LUPD officers work to maintain their accredited status, “they will only increase their proficiency in their service to the community, which is obvious they hold in high regard,” Cox wrote. “It is obvious that the chief and his staff work diligently to pursue the standards of excellence that would be expected of a department accredited by the PLEAC.”
The Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association introduced the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Program to the Commonwealth in July 2001 to provide a reasonable and cost-effective plan for the professionalization of law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania.
Shupp, who has served 11 years as chief of the LUPD’s 34-member force, reaffirmed the department’s pride in earning a distinction shared by only two other universities in the state: Carnegie Mellon and, more recently, Duquesne.
“The dedication of the staff involved in this process demonstrates how truly committed we are to maintaining these high standards,” he said.