The Conway Police Department has passed accreditation requirements for the third time, and is eligible for "accreditation with excellence."

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies conducted a "gold standard" assessment this year, which involves a closer look at CPD’s policies and practices.

"This time they wanted to see us actually going out and doing the best practices," CPD Sgt. John Zanin said.

Zanin said that accreditors also talked with downtown restaurateur Mike Coates and chamber of commerce president Brad Lacy about downtown and business outreach, Conway Public Schools superintendent Greg Murry and UCA president Tom Courtway about school resource officer programs and college policing, Rev. Cornell Maltbia about possible bias-based policing and prosecutor and victim’s services personnel.

CPD also invited comment from the public during the assessment period and held a public input session.

What CPD gets out of accreditation, police chief A.J. Gary said, is "the satisfaction of knowing that we have a police department that’s doing well, and also the public knowing that the department isn’t only saying we’re doing good, we’ve got an outside organization that’s looked at us very closely and says that our policy and procedures are in line with the best practices and that we’re following those policies and procedures."

A tangible benefit of continuing accreditation, both Gary and Zanin said, is that a department following correct police practices means less taxpayer money spent on lawsuits.

"Accreditation with excellence" is "an opportunity [for law enforcement agencies] to be further recognized for the effective use of accreditation as a model for the delivery of enhanced public safety services and management professionalism,’ according to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies website.

To be eligible for this further recognition, an agency must:

• Have a minimum of two previous consecutive CALEA Accreditation awards.

• Not have conditions or noncompliance issues resulting from the current or last assessment.

• Have its current assessment conducted under the CALEA® Gold Standard Assessment model.

• Be in compliance with 90 percent of all applicable other-than-mandatory standards.

• Have limited file maintenance and not more than two applied discretion issues in its Current Assessment Report

• Not be operating under any active Federal Consent Decree or Memorandum of Understanding, or state-level complementary action.

• Not currently be affected by issues that detract from the overall tenets or goals of CALEA Accreditation.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to Send us your news at