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Major Ken Howes or
Florida Highway Patrol

For Release August 1, 2001

TALLAHASSEE - Colonel Chris Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, today announced that a team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), will arrive on August 11, 2001, to examine all aspects of the Florida Highway Patrol's (FHP) policy and procedures, management, operations, and support services.

As part of the on-site assessment, members of the public and agency employees are invited to offer comments directly to the assessment team by calling (877) 488-2772 between 1:00 P.M. and 4:00 P. M., on Monday, August 13, and Wednesday August 15, 2001. Comments are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency's ability to comply with CALEA standards.

"Verification by the team that the Florida Highway Patrol meets the Commission's state-of-the-art standards is part of a voluntary accreditation process - a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence," Colonel Knight said.

Persons wishing to offer written comments about the Florida Highway Patrol's ability to meet the standards for accreditation are requested to write: Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., 10306 Eaton Place, Suite 320, Fairfax, Virginia, 22030-2201.

The Florida Highway Patrol was originally accredited in November of 1996, after proving that it complied with approximately 350 standards. This on-site will confirm the Patrol's continued compliance with the applicable standards. "By undergoing this voluntary submittal to intensive scrutiny and peer review from the Commission, FHP can document to the citizens of Florida that their state law enforcement agency is among the finest in the nation. Being accredited guarantees that the Florida Highway Patrol is among the best qualified and trained law enforcement agencies in the country," Knight said.

Captain Richard S. Mechlin and Lieutenant Diane Russo oversee the Florida Highway Patrol's Accreditation Program. Captain Mechlin said the assessment team is composed of law enforcement practitioners from similar agencies. The assessors will review written materials, interview individuals and visit FHP stations throughout the state; as well as other facilities where compliance can be observed. The assessors are: Major John Leonard of the Connecticut State Police, retired Assistant Director of the U.S. Marshals Service, Gil Kleinknecht, and Lieutenant Virginia Fogt of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Once the Commission's assessors complete their review of the agency, they report back to the full Commission, which will then decide if the agency is to maintain their accredited status, Captain Mechlin stated.

The Commission conducts on-site assessments of agencies every three years. Between on-site assessments agencies must submit annual reports attesting to continued compliance with those standards under which they were accredited.

For more information regarding the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., please write the Commission at 10306 Eaton Place, Suite 320, Fairfax, Virginia 22030-2201, or call (800) 368-3757 or (703) 352-4225 or visit their website at www.calea.org.


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