More than ever, it is imperative the New Albany Police Department strives for excellence and continues to build upon the values of professionalism, integrity, respect and compassion while protecting the community.

We have worked hard to cultivate strong relationships that lead to a safer community, and we don't take these relationships or the trust behind them lightly. To that end, we have spent the past three years working toward national accreditation, a highly prized law-enforcement recognition certifying the institution of best practices locally to meet a national standard of excellence.

As part of the accreditation process, a team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc., or CALEA, for short, will be in New Albany on Tuesday, July 16, to examine all aspects of the police department's policies, procedures, management, operations and support services.

Part of this evaluation includes a public hearing beginning at 4 p.m. in New Albany City Council chambers at Village Hall, 99 W. Main St. I invite residents to offer comments about the police department during this time. If you can't attend the public hearing but want to provide input, you may call 614-939-4016 or 614-939-4017 from 1 to 3 p.m. July 16 to provide input.

The only stipulation is that all comments, whether on the phone or in person, will be limited to 10 minutes and must address the New Albany Police Department's ability to comply with CALEA standards. (A third option, if neither the public hearing nor phone call work for you, would be to send comments directly to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc., 13575 Heathcote Blvd., Suite 320, Gainesville, VA 20155.)

After the assessors complete their review of the department, they will report back to the full commission, which will decide whether the department will be granted CALEA accreditation.

The police department must comply with 181 standards in order to gain accredited status. If accreditation is granted, it will last for four years, during which the department must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with CALEA standards for recertification in 2023.

New Albany Police Department leaders are excited about completing this process and are thankful for everyone who decides to provide feedback July 16 through the public hearing, call-in session or by writing directly to CALEA.

Public support is vital to the the police department's day-to-day operations, and it is also a large component in attaining and maintaining accredited status.

Anyone with questions about the accreditation process, or anyone who would like a copy of the standards the department must meet, may contact officer Joe Catanese at 614-855-5018 or jcatanese@newalbanypolice.org.

Greg Jones is chief of the New Albany Police Department.