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Longboat Key Police Department seeks state accreditation

The accreditation process requires the department to meet strict guidelines set by Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation.

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  • | 11:50 a.m. July 25, 2022
Chief George Turner shakes officer Brett Miklos' hand after Miklos was sworn in. (Photo by Lauren Tronstad)
Chief George Turner shakes officer Brett Miklos' hand after Miklos was sworn in. (Photo by Lauren Tronstad)
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The Longboat Key Police Department is about six months into the process of seeking state accreditation from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation. 

Once completed, the accreditation marks approval from an outside authority that the department is living up to the standards that have been set. 

“It’s really a stamp from an outside professional group saying that we are doing everything we’re supposed to do and for the right reasons,” Police Chief George Turner said. 

The process entails the department reviewing policies to ensure each is being followed in its entirety. 

“It requires us to meet very strict standards, training, hiring, how we handle calls, how we take complaints, equipment, the full gamut, everything we do,” he said. “It has to fit into a mold that outside professionals have determined to be the best course of action for us.”

The whole process can last upwards of two years as it involves detailed documentation of every action taken by the department. 

A team from the commission will come to the department and analyze and observe everything the department does, Turner said. The team will take notes on what is done well and what needs improvement before deciding whether to recommend the department for accreditation. 

The department’s staff will then go in front of a state accreditation board made up of members appointed by the governor, which includes members of law enforcement. The board will go through the report from the commission before voting on whether to award the accreditation.

The police department is still about six months out from signing its contract with the commission, marking the start of the judgment process.

In the meantime, the department has been updating the station’s security, placing new cameras in patrol vehicles and reviewing all policies and procedures.

A sampling of the points to be examined by the state board:

  • A written directive that regulates the types of off-duty employment in which agency members may or may not engage.
  • A written directive that requires that members receive copies of and are instructed in the agency’s use of force policy before they are authorized to carry lethal or less-lethal weapons.
  • A written directive describes the proper use of the following equipment during emergency and non-emergency situations: emergency lights; sirens; hazard warning lights; spotlights, if equipped; and public address systems, if equipped.
  • A written directive establishes an incident reporting system to include: guidelines for when reports must be written, forms to be used, information required, procedures for completing incident reports, procedures for submitting and processing incident reports, and documented supervisory review.
  • Access to evidence areas is controlled to prevent the alteration, unauthorized removal, theft or other compromise of evidence stored by the agency and to maintain chain of custody.

Although the department is still in the early stages of the process, Turner is hopeful it will be concluded on the department’s end by the close of 2023. 

The Barancik Foundation in 2021 awarded the town a grant of $274,850 over a three-year period. The town plans to apply the funding toward accreditation-related efforts, training, policy development and technology.

The department is backed by the support of the Town Commission, Town Manager Tom Harmer and the key’s citizens. 

“It’s important to Longboat Key,” Turner said. “It’s important to me. It’s important to everybody who works here.”

Accreditations last three years before the department is visited again with higher standards to meet to achieve the status again. The process continues every three years to maintain the accreditation. 

“It’s a never-ending process,” Turner said. “It’s about police professionalism and wanting to keep up with the laws.” 

Longboat Key Police Department is the last in the area to apply for the recognition. Bradenton Police Department has been accredited since 2003. Manatee Sheriff’s Office has been accredited since 1996 as well as Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. The Sarasota Police Department achieved the status for the first time in 2002.


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