Clayton County police celebrate accreditation

The Clayton County Police Department is celebrating its status as an accredited law enforcement agency with an open house, and other community events on Saturday, but got the festivities started on Thursday morning with a flag-raising ceremony.

Chief Greg Porter heralded the announcement as the dawning of a new day in Clayton County, and recognized local businesses as valued partners.

"We will mark today as a new day in the police department, and in these community partnerships," said Porter. "It is important to know the commitment of the police department and the police chief to valued partnerships in the community."

Porter identified the faith-based community, schools, county employees, local businesses, elected officials, other law enforcement agencies and homeowners associations as the partners. Several local businesses were given plaques of recognition for their efforts.

The department started work on its accreditation in 2009, through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc., said Lt. Tina Daniel. Completion took about 12 months, and accreditation was awarded earlier this year.

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners recognized the full accreditation Tuesday night.

Daniel said Clayton is one of a handful of departments in the state to be accredited.

"Being accredited creates the blueprint for the department to follow certain guidelines," she said. "It strengthens the delivery of crime prevention, and reduces civil liability to the department."

Other benefits include greater accountability within the agency, increased community partnerships and staunch support from government officials, said Daniel. Patrol cars display a new design and colors, and the department has its own flag, which is flying alongside the U.S. and Georgia flags outside the Jonesboro headquarters.

"All this reflects the new direction the police department is going in," she said.

The celebration continues tomorrow (Saturday) with an open house, 3K run, free refreshments, pet adoption, and exhibits by the department’s aviation, K-9, dive, bomb and SWAT teams.

Registration for the run starts at 8 a.m. Information can be accessed at www.claytonpolice.com.