First one might ask, why is it important to achieve accreditation form WILEAG? This is a rigorous agency accreditation program specifically tailored to the needs and capacities of Wisconsin law enforcement agencies since 1996 and has shown continuous growth in membership. Think about it, colleges, nursing homes, hospitals, among others, have all had accreditation programs for years. This accreditation is a process whereby a law enforcement agency is evaluated on the existence of and its compliance with a prescribed set of over 250 standards. Agencies statewide that have achieved WILEAG Accreditation status are the best of the best – only 39 agencies out of 530 law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin have attained accreditation. Mount Pleasant Police Department would be the first agency in Racine County to achieve such accreditation.
There are many benefits of agency accreditation. The findings of the independent review and achievement of accredited status provide:
- A well-deserved sense of professionalism and pride by the agency, the agency’s personnel and the community they serve.
- Communities gain security in the knowledge that their agencies are well managed and utilizing the best police practices in the State of Wisconsin.
- Prosecutors have the assurance that law enforcement operations and personnel are consistent and well directed.
- Local officials know that there is an independent review and evaluation of agency operations.
Mount Pleasant Police Chief Soens believes accreditation improves the overall performance and efficiency of the organization by implementing and adhering to set standards and procedures. This not only sets organizational expectations with existing staff members, it also implants citizen expectations as well as a consistency in police service and response.” The program standards are set by the WILEAG Governing Board. Standards cover virtually all key areas of agency operations and administration. The Governing Board is comprised of 16 members who come from leadership roles in Wisconsin law enforcement agencies as well as professionals from related disciplines. The WILEAG Governing Board confers accredited status after a review of the findings and upon the positive recommendations of the on-site assessment team. Assessors are respected, experienced law enforcement professionals (or recent retirees). They volunteer and are trained for the assessor role.
Achieving accredited status is a multi-phase, self-paced process that can take nearly two years:
- Each agency adopts and implements the standards.
- Each agency does an in-depth self-assessment to determine readiness for the on-site assessment.
- The WILEAG assessment team conducts an on-site review and presents findings, as well as recommendations, to the WILEAG Governing Board.
- The WILEAG Governing Board grants accreditation to the agency or counsels the agency on the steps necessary to achieve accreditation.
Accreditation allows an agency to not just “talk the talk” but to “walk the walk” which creates the legitimacy in which it operates; Chief Soens looks forward to accreditation and walking the walk. The Village, as a community, looks forward to seeing our Mount Pleasant Police Department being recognized for achieving law enforcement excellence and WILEAG Accreditation!
The Village of Mount Pleasant Strategic Plan 2020-2024 took one year to complete. Beginning in 2018, Village elected and appointed officials as well as employees worked with a consultant to create the vision, mission and values. Three public open houses were held and the citizens were surveyed to create the strategic goals. Each year since 2019, the Village updates its strategies and tactics to stay true to the adopted vision, mission, values and goals. This is the third in a series on the Mount Pleasant 2020-2024 Strategic Plan.
Maureen Murphy is the Mount Pleasant village administrator.