The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Police Department has once again been accredited in the Texas Law Enforcement Accreditation Program by the Texas Police Chiefs Association Foundation (TPACF).
The DART Police Department is one of 184 agencies in Texas accredited out of over 2,700 law enforcement agencies in the state. The agency employs approximately 250 licensed officers, 110 fare enforcement officers, and 67 support staff.
The department first became accredited in 2014 and, since then, has achieved re-accreditation status twice. Each accreditation period is four years in length.
In its announcement to the public, DART explains that the accreditation program is voluntary. To receive accreditation, police agencies must prove their compliance with 170 Texas Law Enforcement Best Practices.
Those practices include deadly force training, vehicle pursuits, directives on unlawful harassment, handling of hostage incidents or barricaded suspects, use of force documentation and review, off-duty employment, and methods for searching and transporting adults.
As stated by DART, the practices were put in place by Texas Law Enforcement experts to guide Texas agencies in meeting law enforcement demands and carrying out their service effectively and efficiently. They also assist in the “reduction of risk and the protection of individual’s rights.”
A committee of Chiefs of Police and Command level officers is selected across the state to develop standards believed to be necessary for the proper functioning and delivery of quality service by Texas law enforcement agencies. The process includes a review of Texas law and other State Accreditation Program standards.
Agencies applying for accreditation must conduct a thorough internal review of their policies, operations, procedures, facilities, and equipment. The proof of the agency’s compliance with the program’s standards is then submitted electronically to independent assessors.
After a review of the proof, a team is sent to the agency to inspect its operations and facilities and interview the staff. The team puts together a final report based on their findings and forwards it to the Accreditation Committee, which then reviews the information and votes on whether to award the status.
The TPCAF accreditation program is similar to the national accreditation program for police departments; however, it is designed exclusively for Texas Law Enforcement. It is also easier to administer and costs less than the national program.
More information about the accreditation program can be found here.