Ashland Police being reviewed

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email

ASHLAND, VA (WWBT) - The Ashland Police Department is getting ready for some visitors this weekend. The department will be undergoing an independent review by an out-of-state team of police officers.

It's a voluntary process for Ashland Police that will look at a wide-range of policies and procedures to see if the department meets these national standards. Ashland passed three years ago, putting the department in an elite company.

Stop by the Ashland Police Department and you'll see officers repairing equipment and organizing files, all in an effort to be ready for an independent review by out-of-state police officers.

Ashland is one of only two dozen law enforcement agencies statewide to be accredited and now the department is trying to renew its accreditation. Lieutenant James Shelhorse says the distinction gives the department instant credibility.

"You wouldn't want to go to a hospital if it wasn't board-certified," he said.

This review is meant to be anything but a pat on the back. The two people that will be looking at the Ashland Police Department are from Ohio and Texas so they don't know anyone here and are looking at this from a fresh perspective.

That sits well with people in Ashland like Lou Korpics. He runs a dentist office in town and says hearing an honest, outside assessment can be helpful.

"It gives you a lot of confidence in the police department and a sense of security that they're doing everything they can to make things safe for us here in Ashland," he said.

Ashland police officers say going through this process validates the way they work.

"It shows them, 'Hey, look, we're a professional department. We hold these standards and adhere to these standards and uphold these standards'," Shelhorse said. "It makes them feel good and gives them a sense of security."

The Ashland Police Department is the smallest police force in Virginia to be accredited.

Officers say the distinction helps to recruit quality new police officers.

If you want to give your input on the evaluation, there's a public information session with the assessment team Monday night at 7:30 in the Council Chambers inside Ashland Town Hall.

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