SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The Spartanburg Police Department would like the community to participate in a survey regarding the department’s performance based on their national standards.

Since 1999, the Spartanburg Police Department has been nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA.

“It’s made up of a group of organizations, that sit down and decide these are the best practices for law enforcement agencies,” said Major Art Littlejohn.

The group of organizations that decide the best practices on a national level are:

  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
  • National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA)
  • Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)

Major Littlejohn said being accredited makes sure they are following the best practices nationally and these standards cover every aspect of their department.  

“You are communicating with the community, that you are also following the guidelines and policies that are put in place, everything from your hiring practices to discipline,” he said.

This survey available to the public is a way for you to weigh in on their performance.  

“It’s an opportunity for you to make comments and suggestions, things that we could do better. Maybe something that you were involved in or maybe the officer did an excellent job,” said Major Littlejohn.

“Today, transparency is what everybody wants and having that talk between the community and us as a police department is bridging that,” said Senior Patrol Officer Rita Castro.

Castro has been with the department for almost seven years. She said having the national rule book to follow helps her better serve the community.

“I know that if I look at my policy and live by that policy and do what I’m supposed to do, that I’m going to be protected and I’m doing the right thing for my community,” she said.

Littlejohn said only about 5% of law enforcement agencies in the country have this accreditation. A lot of the time when the law enforcement agencies are nationally accredited, they will have ways of showing it, like stickers on patrol cars.

Everything done within the police department is by CALEA’s standards.

“A lot of standards have changed over the last couple of years, and they make those suggestions,” said Littlejohn. “Based on those suggestions we will change our policies to meet the best practices suggested.”

Every so often, the organization checks to make sure the department is meeting them.

Officer Castro said it helps those of them protecting the streets.

“When I show up, I’m not there on your best day, I’m there on your worst day, usually,” she said. “So, just to be able to show up for them and to know that we’re following the highest standards we can and we’re going above and beyond other police departments, that’s why I love what I do.”

If you do choose to comment, you will not receive a response other than an acknowledgement of your submission. Major Littlejohn said the public comment portal is not a way to file a complaint. To do that, he said you need to go through their Office of Professional Standards and Inspections.

To fill out the survey, click here.