MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA — The following is a statement from the Manchester-by-the-Sea Police Chief Todd Fitzgerald:
“In light of the ongoing local, regional and national conversation regarding the role of law enforcement and police training, I would like to take a moment to explain a bit more about the Manchester-by-the-Sea Police Department’s accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC).
“This is a voluntary process that we, along with dozens of other departments in the state, chose to take part in to ensure our policies and procedures reflect the best practices of the profession. We are proud that we met and continue to meet these high standards to ensure that we are providing the best possible service to our residents.
“Achieving accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission is a significant accomplishment and a recognition highly regarded by the law enforcement community. These standards reflect critical areas of police management, operations, and technical support activities. They cover areas such as policy development, emergency response planning, training, communications, property and evidence handling, use of force, vehicular pursuit, prisoner transportation, bias based policing and holding facilities.
“Accreditation consists of 382 standards; 257 are mandatory and 125 are optional. Due to the size of the agency, only a percentage of the optional standards are required to be met. Manchester Police had to meet 69 optional standards. The Manchester Police Department currently has met all the 257 mandatory standards and 80 optional standards, which means we have exceeded the minimum requirements.
“Meeting these standards has numerous benefits, including the means to continuously assess our performance and growth, providing a basis to quickly correct deficiencies should they arise, the creation of a written commitment to policies and procedures in writing, and the opportunity for independent evaluation of agency operations.
“Most importantly, it promotes accountability among every member of the department, which in turn, allows us to rightfully earn and maintain the trust of the community members we took an oath to protect. To us, this trust is what allows us to effectively do our job every day and it’s not something that we take for granted.
“The accreditation process does not stop once the initial award is gained. We continue to meet monthly and yearly benchmarks which includes the ongoing process of policy review, analysis and review all use of force incidents and report on them, equipment maintenance, training, and making sure we have a transparent internal affairs process. Detective Ryan Machain has assumed the task as the full-time accreditation manager with the assistance of Lt. Mark McCoy. Together, they make sure that we are continuing to meet these goals and guidelines.
“Lastly, I would like to remind the public that I will be holding office hours on Thursday, July 2 in Masconomo Park from 4-6 p.m. My open office hours will be held the first Monday of every month throughout the summer and will be held outside due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The location may be different each month, so please keep an eye on our social media as the date approaches to see where it will be held.
“Thank you again for your support and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.”