Law enforcement agencies face an uphill battle when it comes to accreditation. Going through an accreditation process is often voluntary – many states do not require accreditation – and the amount of work that goes into this process can seem overwhelming. You wouldn’t be crazy to think that accreditation is more work than its worth, but that’s changing.

Emerging document management technologies are making it easier to manage the regulatory and accreditation processes and can provide a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Protecting law enforcement organizations against litigation.
  • Ensuring officers are properly prepared for difficult situations.
  • Documenting best practices so nothing slips through the cracks.

“The financial and operational benefits of accreditation are substantial.”

Missouri a prime example of how accreditation creates potential value
A recent study from Better Together St. Louis found that just 15 out of the 60 law enforcement organizations in St. Louis and St. Louis County are accredited. This isn’t problematic – every police officer goes through mandatory certification, but the process is voluntary for agencies. This data doesn’t point to a failure of police offices in St. Louis and St. Louis County. It highlights a missed opportunity for these agencies to streamline their processes and strive towards operational excellence.

The thought of accreditation as a cost sink has been turned around as accredited agencies are actually saving money in the long run. The study explained the accreditation process is no longer cost prohibitive. In fact, it creates potential for a significant financial return on investment. These returns come from:

  • A $2,500 reimbursement from MPCCF Law Enforcement Agency Accreditation.
  • A 10 percent rebate in the annual Law Enforcement Liability premium paid to the Missouri Public Entity Risk Management Fund.

Furthermore, Better Together St. Louis explained that accreditations mandate what organizations must accomplish, not how they do it. This gives police offices freedom to achieve accreditation in cost-efficient ways.

Missouri stepping up its accreditation requirements
Missouri is changing its accreditation requirements. A recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch report explained that the state recently established an accreditation process guideline that includes a mandate that all law enforcement agencies get accredited within the next six years. This is a disruptive move, and agencies need to get started now if they want to comply with accreditation requirements.

Using technology to ensure cost-effective accreditation
The financial and operational benefits of accreditation are substantial, but those gains are limited if you spend too much to make it happen. Modern document management technologies are delivering powerful functionality through the web, letting you store files, gather employee signatures and manage document versions electronically without the infrastructure costs.