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Commission on the Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA)

Logo of the Commission on the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies



Since 2011, the Iowa Department of Public Safety has been a proud participant in the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) program - a highly-regarded international law enforcement accrediting body.

Earning the gold standard

Considered the gold standard in public safety, CALEA accreditation provides law enforcement agencies a framework of best practices and standards to ensure accountability within their agencies, reduce liability exposure and promote effective resource management. Accreditation also requires routine assessments that represent an on-going obligation to continue the quest for excellence by achieving compliance to all applicable standards and any future standards.

The award of accreditation represents agency commitment to professional excellence in four basic areas:

  1. Policy and procedures
  2. Administration
  3. Operations
  4. Support services

In November of 2011, CALEA awarded DPS the highly-coveted accreditation. To achieve this award, the Department underwent a lengthy process that included establishing or revising policies and procedures, including an independent third party review by CALEA assessors to assure that it met the over 400 standards required of law enforcement agencies.

Today, DPS is one of only 10 Iowa law enforcement agencies that are CALEA accredited - and only 4% of all law enforcement agencies in the country have earned this distinction.

The rigorous review process required DPS to meet standards in the areas of crime prevention and control capabilities; management procedures; and service delivery. The commission also reviewed our policies and procedures to make sure they are fair and nondiscriminatory. The Department is audited annually, with on-site reaccreditation assessment occurring every four years. The assessment team is composed of public safety practitioners from outside of Iowa, who represent agencies that are similar to DPS. These specially-trained assessors review written material, interview individuals and visit offices and other locations where compliance can be witnessed. 

Advantages of accreditation

There are multiple advantages to reaching CALEA accreditation status including: 

  • Increased community advocacy
  • Support from government officials
  • Stronger defense against civil lawsuits
  • Reduced risk and liability procedures
  • Greater accountability within the agency

There are many benefits to achieving CALEA status including: Increased community advocacy, support from government officials, stronger defense against civil lawsuits, reduced risk and liability procedures and greater accountability within the agency.

Pursuit of Excellence

Identifying, achieving, and maintaining accreditation demonstrates the Iowa Department of Public Safety's dedication to Iowans and has facilitated our pursuit of professional excellence. CALEA carries on the Department's continuous improvement initiatives and provides independent verification and international validation of our law enforcement operations. 

Access key DPS policies here: 

Link to DPS button

For more information on the Iowa Department of Public Safety's CALEA standards, please contact:

CALEA Director, Lisa Godfrey


To make a commendation or complaint about DPS with CALEA, visit the CALEA Accreditation Public Comment Portal

To learn more about the role and benefits of CALEA accreditation, click here to visit the CALEA website.