Public Safety Communications Accreditation Support Network
The accreditation program for public safety communications agencies is a joint effort of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, In(CALEA) and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO).
In 1996, CALEA and APCO combined resources to develop a voluntary accreditation program specifically for Public Safety Communications Agencies. APCO contributed communications leadership, technical expertise, a pool of highly qualified and experienced communications executives to develop standards, and a source of program on-site assessors. CALEA was the source of accreditation expertise with a developed accreditation process, a base of administrative and communications standards, and the independent neutral body to administer the program.
APCO is the world’s oldest and largest not-for-profit professional organization dedicated to the enhancement of public safety communications. Its mission is to promote governmental cooperation and foster the development of public safety communications through research, planning, training, and education. APCO has an Executive Council made up of representatives of each chapter and the corporate community. The Board of Officers is comprised of four elected APCO active members and the Executive Director, who is a non voting member. The Executive Director manages the headquarters staff and operations.
What is Accreditation?
The components of an accreditation program include professionals, who act with discretion, in the public trust, to standards set by experts in the field. An independent process is designed to implement the standards, verify compliance and award recognition. With the communications accreditation program, telecommunicators with special knowledge and experience
established voluntary standards before other, possibly less qualified groups, sought to do so.
Accreditation is a coveted award that symbolizes professionalism, excellence, and competence. Accredited agencies can take pride in their department, knowing it represents the very best in public safety communications.
How can PSCASN members help?
STRENGTH IN MEMBERS
PSCASN provides access to:
1. Networking Opportunities - with accredited agencies or those seeking accreditation.
2. Interaction with CALEA - a CALEA program manager acts as the CASN liasion.
3. Mock Assessments - CASN members willing to provide pre-onsite
assessment assistance to agencies in the final stages of self-
4. National Meetings - CASN meetings held at the three CALEA conferences
each year provide an opportunity to network with similar agencies and
attend seminars specifically geared to the public safety communications
INTERNET BASED ASSISTANCE INCLUDING:
2. Program overview
3. General discussion
5. Policy Development
6. Much, much more
7. Standards Interpretation
8. Mentor Programs
Determining Agency Eligibility
Participation in the Communications Accreditation Program is restricted to:
* Legally constituted governmental entities with a mandated responsibility to provide public safety communications services (stand
* Component departments of public safety agencies that provide communications services
* Private agencies with mandated public safety communications responsibilities, whose eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis
by the Commission.
Compliance Size and Costs
Agency size determines both what standards are applicable and the program participation fees. For stand-alone agencies, size is defined as the total number of authorized full-time personnel. For communications services that are a part of another organization (e.g., fire, law enforcement, or EMS) size is the number of full-time personnel assigned to the communications function, plus one:
A (1-15 personnel)
There is a provision for a "unique" agency that because of its mission, size, location, or other factors may not fit the paradigm.
Agencies that seek accreditation are required to comply only with those standards that are specifically applicable to them. Applicability is based on an agency's size and the functions it performs. Applicable standards are categorized as mandatory or other-than-mandatory. Agencies must comply with all applicable mandatory (M) standards and 80% of applicable other-than-mandatory (O) standards. If an agency cannot comply with a standard because of legislation, labor agreements, court orders, or case law, waivers can be sought from the Commission.
General Inquiries, Website and Forum Inquiries
Mary Sue Robey