Historic City News has reported in the past on several “false flag” indications, both from the department and from City Hall, that the police department was attempting to achieve accreditation. But in 2019, the city manager, John P Regan, put some money behind the talk and hired a new employee specifically for the purpose of getting the department in position to achieve accreditation.
Now, the St. Augustine Police Department says they are nearing accreditation completion and the Assessment Team is ready to examine all aspects of the St. Augustine Police Department; its policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services. Many of the standards are critical to life, health, and safety issues. The team is seeking and accepting public input at this time.
“The St. Augustine Police Department must comply with approximately 245 standards to receive accredited status,” said Jennifer Smalls who was hired by the City as “Accreditation Coordinator” for the police department beginning October 1, 2019. After her last raise, she is being paid $ 44,112.89 annually, plus benefits. “The assessment team is composed of law enforcement practitioners from similar agencies. The assessors will review written materials, interview individuals, and visit offices and other areas where compliance can be witnessed.”
Law enforcement agencies in the state may be accredited by one or more organizations. The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®), was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of law enforcement’s major national executive associations. Eighteen-years later, in 1996, the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation awarded its first agency accreditation. The initial Charter Review Committee, that developed the charter for the CFA and established the overall framework for its operation, was headed by the late St. Johns County Sheriff, Neil J. Perry. Now the agency will determine the fitness of the police department to be accredited.
In our local county, the following Law Enforcement Agencies exist:
- St Johns County Sheriff’s Office, accredited by BOTH CFA and CALEA (state and national)
- City of St Augustine Beach Police Department, accredited by CFA (state only)
- City of St Augustine Police Department, not accredited by either CFA or CALEA (state or national)
Neck-deep in controversy over police handling of violent, out-of-town, race-baiting protestors last year, as well as unfounded arrests of local counter-protestors, put Fox and Regan under the spotlight — holding them up to public scrutiny and embarrassment when the arrests they made were dismissed immediately by the State Attorney. There are video supported allegations of police brutality resulting in medical injuries to at least one citizen who was attempting to publicly read instructions using a handheld megaphone.
Chief of Police Barry Fox, who started work for the City on April 13, 1993, announced that he was retiring later this summer. In the meantime, Regan said that Fox was being transferred to a non-department head, non-law enforcement position in the code enforcement department. Operationally, the city manager hires and fires the Chief of Police. The accommodation allowed Fox to still collect a
Assistant Chief of Police Anthony Cuthbert was appointed by Regan to serve as interim chief until a search committee selects a permanent replacement for Fox. Regan wanted to keep Fox around to oversee this accreditation process before he leaves. According to the most recent payroll records, Cuthbert, who started work for the City on April 1, 1997, is working for his previous pay, $ 97,540.36 plus benefits, annually, while Fox has retained his $120,117.00 annual salary, plus benefits.
A team of assessors for the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) will be conducting a virtual assessment starting Tuesday, April 13, 2021.
As part of the assessment, agency members and the public are invited to offer comments to the assessment team. A copy of the standards manual is available through the St. Augustine Police Department’s Public Information Officer located at 151 King Street, St. Augustine, Florida, by phone at 904-209-3465 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Verification by the team that the St. Augustine Police Department meets the Commission’s standards is part of a voluntary process to gain or maintain accreditation, a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.
For more information regarding the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation or for persons wishing to offer written comments about the St. Augustine Police Department’s ability to meet the standards of accreditation, please write:
Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation
Post Office Box 1489
Tallahassee, FL 32302
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once the Commission’s assessors complete their review of the agency, they report back to the full Commission, which will then determine if the agency is to receive accredited status. The St. Augustine Police Department’s accreditation, if issued, would be valid for three years.