THOMASVILLE -- The Thomasville Police Department is under the microscope, a position the agency assumes every three years.

A team from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) will depart today after several days of scrutinizing TPD operations.

The last CALEA visit was in 2000. TPD has been accredited by the Fairfax,Va.-based organization since 1987.

An accreditation team headed by Mike Kelly, former commissioner for the Main Department of Public Safety, will conduct an exit interview today with police Chief David Huckstep.

Before arriving in Thomasville Saturday, the team conducted an off-site review of 444 standards and more than 90 files related to the agency's operations.

"We build up to actually coming here," said Kelly, a Greene, Maine, resident and former police chief in Lewiston, Maine.

Other CALEA team members inspecting TPD are William Benson, a commander in the police department at Wheeling, Ill., and William Pease, a captain in the Hudson (N.H.) Police Department.

Kelly, who has about 27 years of experience in law enforcement, said his team is conducting interviews and inspections in areas of officers and civilian personnel and equipment, among others.

The inspection centers on ensuring compliance with CALEA accreditation standards.

For instance, Kelly noted, the TPD officer in charge of the Special Response Team explained intricacies of SRT training, equipment and duties.

Although CALEA does not consider a law enforcement agency's budget, the entity must operate within confines of its budgetary limits.

"For the purpose of the City of Thomasville, they do a good job," Kelly said about TPD.

One of the department's pluses is that it uses outside resources -- Thomas County Sheriff's Office, Georgia and Federal bureaus of investigation and law enforcement organizations in nearby counties -- when needed.

Because of the relationships with other agencies, TPD can deploy more personnel on an as-needed basis, Kelly explained.

The accreditation inspection looks at the process that results in TPD operating as it does.

It is all about accountability -- "horizontally and vertically" -- in all areas, according to Kelly.

The annual TPD cost of maintaining accreditation standards is about $12,000.

Whether TPD retains accreditation status will be decided in November by CALEA commissioners in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The police chief and a TPD employee of his choosing will be the subjects of a CALEA hearing conducted by commissioners.

The hearing, with Kelly making recommendations, will result in one of three outcomes: reaccreditation, reaccreditation with conditions or loss of accreditation.

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