THOMASVILLE — An Illinois police officer vacationing in Thomasville this week is not actually on vacation.

Kevin Simpson is leader of a Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) team assessing Thomasville Police Department for CALEA reaccreditation.

TPD undergoes CALEA reassessment every three years.

Simpson, deputy chief of the Hinsdale Police Department and on a working vacation from the law enforcement agency, approves of Southern hospitality.

The 38-year-old lawman, a CALEA consultant, is three-year deputy chief of an agency that serves about 18,000 people in a Chicago suburb.

Simpson and fellow team members arrived in Thomasville Saturday. Their TPD work, which began Sunday, ends today with an exit interview with Thomasville police Chief David Huckstep.

The CALEA team will tell the chief what they found and provide an overview of their assessment.

“At this point, there’s nothing to lead me to believe it won’t be favorable,” Simpson told the Times-Enterprise Tuesday.

Based on the team’s report, a final recommendation will be made to the full commission, which will make the ultimate decision about TPD’s reaccreditation.

TPD, one of 35 CALEA-accredited law enforcement agencies in Georgia, has been accredited by the Fairfax, Va.-based organization since 1987.

CALEA has 444 standards with which an agency must comply.

“We like to compare it to accredited hospitals or universities,” Simpson said. “ ... It raises the level of professionalism.”

CALEA accreditation also provides a community with a higher level of service and professionalism, Simpson added.

On Sunday, the accreditation team witnessed an exhibit of TPD vehicles, the canine officer and bike officers, all in appropriate uniform. “It’s almost like an inspection” the CALEA team leader explained.

The intake process at the Thomas County Jail was observed, along with TPD’s facility and the agency’s investigative division.

Operations, personnel, pursuits and other areas, specifically policies on use of force, come under study by the reaccreditation team.

CALEA requires a procedure in use of force. For example, Simpson said, CALEA requires a procedure that would determine if a trend in use of force should be dealt with through disciplinary measures or with training.

Simpson found TPD personnel professional, friendly and accommodating. “I’m very impressed with the personnel here as a whole,” he said.

The CALEA team made “subtle suggestions” to TPD officials that could result in “subtle changes,” Simpson explained, adding that he could not pinpoint an area that requires drastic changes.

“We don’t make changes. That’s up the department,” Simpson said.

“Overall, we’ve been very impressed with the department,” he explained.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 220.


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