Park Ridge Police Department Seeks Law Enforcement Accreditation


Park Ridge Police Department Seeks Law Enforcement Accreditation
            Over the past year, The Park Ridge Police Department has worked towards achieving accredited status with the Illinois Association of Chief’s of Police. Accreditation is an ongoing process whereby agencies evaluate policies and procedures against established criteria, and have compliance with those criteria verified by an independent and authoritative body, The Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Council. The criteria, or standards, are policy development guidelines that represent a level of quality service delivery. The standards are divided into four general subject areas: Administration, Operations, Personnel and Training. All are mandatory except for those that are “not applicable” by function. The two tiers are not based on size, but on how comprehensive the accreditation. Tier One has 71 standards and Tier Two has 180 standards. The department is seeking accreditation on Tier One.
            The true indicator of compliance, however, lies with an evaluation by trained, independent professional peers. The establishment of meaningful and professional standards and an evaluation for compliance to those standards are, therefore, the two fundamentals of an accreditation program. The department has reached the final stage in the Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (ILEAP), the onsite assessment. The assessment will be performed on June 27th and 28th .
            The assessment consists of two to three days of file review prior to arrival, department tours, vehicle inspection, interviews, ride-alongs and an exit interview. Two assessors have been assigned and they will work with the department Accreditation Manager to have all aspects of the on-site assessment scheduled over a two-day time period. 
            Chief Don Thomas has been the Chief of Police for Sycamore, Illinois since 2001. Before that, he worked over 23 years with the St. Charles (IL) Police Department, serving as Deputy Chief of Operations, Administrative Coordinator and CALEA accreditation manager. He also worked in Bosnia (2000-2001) as a human rights investigator with the United Nations International Police Task Force. Chief Thomas is a graduate of the FBI National Academy (179th session) and the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command (10th). He holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice from Aurora (IL) University.
            Lieutenant Joseph Mitchell has been with the Orland Park Police Department since 1995, holding the positions of Patrol Officer, Narcotics Investigator, Investigator, Patrol Sergeant, Detective Lieutenant, and currently supervises Training, Development and Review.
Lieutenant Mitchell is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command (221st session). He holds a Masters Degree in Public Service from DePaul University and a Bachelors Degree in Aviation from Lewis University.
            There is a two-hour public opinion phone-in session, but no public hearing. Citizens who are interested in providing input into the process can call 847-318-5262 on June 27th between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm and speak to one of the assessors. After the assessment, the lead assessor submits an Assessment Report to the ILEAP Committee Chairman who reviews and distributes the report to the Council for its review and action at the Council’s next scheduled meeting. If granted, accreditation is validfor four (4) years. 
           More information about the standards can be obtained by visiting the police department front desk or online at:

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