Serving the Fallon community | NevadaAppeal.com

Serving the Fallon community

Steve Ranson
sranson@lahontanvalleynews.com
CALEA Commissioner Richard Myers, left, and Executive Director Craig Hartley, right, recognize Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman and the Fallon Police Department for achieving reaccreditation in meeting law enforcement standards.
COURTESY KEVIN GEHMAN |

The Fallon Police Department has been reaccredited as one of the top law enforcement agencies in the United States according to the standards prescribed by the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

The FPD, which was initially accredited in 2013, successfully met standards in conducting the best practices for law enforcement. During the initial accreditation process, Police Chief Kevin Gehman said the department had to put together standards, but the real test came during the reaccreditation process in which the FPD showed it implemented and followed the standards and continued to improve.

“Reaccreditation was most difficult because you had to show proof of compliance,” said Gehman, who became chief almost nine years ago. “This time, they (CALEA accreditation team) expanded their scope and dug into our reports.”

When the FPD initially undertook the accreditation process, Gehman said it took more than two years in preparation to rewrite policies and integrate the CALEA guidelines into the local policies. Instead of rewriting certain policies, the FPD started from scratch prior to the accreditation team visiting Fallon in 2013.

According to the CALEA website, “The purpose of CALEA’s Accreditation Programs is to improve the delivery of public safety services, primarily by maintaining a body of standards, developed by public safety practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives; establishing and administering an accreditation process; and recognizing professional excellence.

“The CALEA Accreditation Process is a proven modern management model; once implemented, it presents the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), on a continuing basis, with a blueprint that promotes the efficient use of resources and improves service delivery — regardless of the size, geographic location, or functional responsibilities of the agency.”

Mark S. Mosier, regional program manager for the Pacific, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain and Latin America Regions, commended the FPD.

“The department is really good,” Mosier said from his office in Gainesville, Va. “Obviously, they are a small department, and still they love and breathe by the value of accreditation.”

Mosier said departments accredited by CALEA are showing transparency to the communities they serve, and they are actively engaged in 21st-century law enforcement.

This is a tribute to their chief,” Mosier said of Fallon’s involvement with CALEA. “Some departments won’t let outsiders view them.”

Mosier, though, said Gehman is open and transparent and wants to tell the community what the FPD is doing and how it’s meeting its expectations. According to Mosier, he said the FPD is well organized, compliant with all 189 standards and receives good community support.

“The key to agencies in our program is that they are doing it for the community at large,” Mosier said. “With CALEA, the system is set in place. The systems and processes work so the policies and processes are reviewed on an annual basis.”

Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford said he is pleased with the reaccreditation.

“To get that from CALEA is very special for a small department,” Tedford said. “I am pleased to see Chief Gehman has the department headed in the right direction, and the officers train in all facets of law enforcement training.”

Tedford said it is important to establish the same training and to see all officers excelling at it. Additionally, Tedford said Gehman has maintained a goal to serve the residents of Fallon, and he has passed down that goal and others to the officers in the department.

Gehman said he was pleased with the results. He said CALEA showed how Fallon has a low percentage of using force during arrests, and patrol functions were well managed.

“We also have a significant presence in the community,” Gehman said of the report’s results. “Compared to other communities, we get good support from our community.”

Gehman said the FPD has a good staff from “top to bottom” that shows in the competency of the personnel and how they perform the work that is expected from them.

“Fallon Police Department is a good example for community policing,” Gehman said.

Gehman acknowledged the reaccreditation process consisted of many hours of work, but it allows the agency to use the best policies. FPD is only one of 130 smaller police agencies out of 130,000 that are accredited. Two other Nevada departments — Las Vegas Metro and Henderson Police Department — are accredited in the larger law enforcement division.

Although the next reaccreditation is four years away, Gehman said the department will receive a policy update annually to ensure it is still using the best policies available.

Mosier echoed Gehman’s direction:

“Chief Gehman is ensuring the community knows they are doing the right thing.”