Shelton police earn state reaccreditation

SHELTON — The city’s police force has received its reaccreditation — putting it among only 16 other departments in the state with such a designation.

Chief Shawn Sequeira, who spearheaded the department’s first state accreditation in 2016 in his first year as the city’s top cop, proudly displayed the recently received plaque commemorating the achievement.

“This shows that we are working at the highest standards set by the state,” Sequeira said. “This achievement shows that we are not only setting policies but also proves that the officers are complying through proper documentation.

“It’s not an easy task to do,” Sequeira added. “You’re setting yourself to a higher standard.”

The force earned the Connecticut Police Officer Standards and Training Council’s Tier 1 reaccreditation, which focuses on liability certification. Tier 1 standard assists police agencies in better protecting themselves and their employees from liability exposure while simultaneously enhancing the delivery of service and improved public confidence in the agency.

Lt. Brian Yerzak, who acts as the department’s certified accreditation manager, audits officers’ actions on a daily basis. This, Sequeira said, is to be prepared for when the state audits the force every few years.

“This accreditation award reflects the hard work and dedication of all of our officers and department personnel,” Yerzak said. “Our officers and department personnel take pride in their work … this is the proof.”

The force is presently working toward its Tier 2 and federal accreditation, which Sequeira feels should be completed simultaneously over the next two years. The federal government’s police accountability bill, passed last year, calls for all departments to earn federal accreditation by 2025, Sequeira said.

“When your kid goes to college, most people want their child to go to an accredited school. When there’s day care, you look for an accredited day care because you know the level of success is proven, it’s documented … at the end of the day, we are operating the police department at its highest potential,” said Sequeira.

“We basically make sure the building is up to code and up to standards, all policies are written to a certain level,” the chief added, “and most importantly that the policies and procedures are being followed.”