Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement
Agency has received elite accreditation
The Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement is the only agency in the state solely dedicated to monitoring and enforcing commercial vehicle regulations and highway safety laws.
Recently it became the only agency of its kind in the country to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies -- the highest level of public safety accreditation in the world.
Greg Howard, commissioner of the KVE, said the department began the process of refining some of its policies and updating equipment, like its evidence storage, in April 2005. And while it takes most departments about three years to attain the status, KVE completed the process in just 28 months.
"Part of being a professional agency is wanting to be the first to accomplish things," Howard said. "We'll get a lot of national exposure based on the fact that we're the first of our kind" to be accredited.
Because of the unique nature of KVE, the department had to meet 315 of the 459 standards required by CALEA. Howard said some of the standards, such as having policies on investigations or requiring a holding cell, do not apply to the department.
Including KVE, five agencies in Kentucky have obtained the CALEA status -- only 600 agencies have achieved that status in the entire country.
Most Kentucky agencies, like the Owensboro Police Department, are accredited with the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police.
Howard said he worked for two of the other agencies accredited by CALEA -- the Department of Criminal Justice Training and the Lexington Division of Police -- when they went through the steps to achieving the status, and said he knew exactly how much work would be entailed.
"It's like having the Queen Mary sitting in the middle of the Ohio River and trying to turn it around," he said. "... only we were guided, and everyone wanted to do it. It wasn't like pulling teeth to get them to do it."
Howard said the department was already in compliance with many of the standards set by CALEA, but some of the policies needed refining.
"We do get sued sometimes, and a lot of the suits were based on inadequate policies," Howard said. "This does limit our liability as well."
Part of the changes included a redesign of the department's evidence room -- a process that cost about $200,000. In addition to adding security surveillance and "state-of-the-art" electronics, the department tripled its storage space.
"We used a lot of drug seizure dollars to get this accomplished, so we'd like to thank (individuals trafficking in narcotics)," Howard said.
Several of the state's 179 KVE officers patrol Region 8, which oversees Daviess, Henderson, Ohio, Hancock, McLean, Muhlenberg, Hopkins, Webster and Union counties.
Public Information Officer Bobby Clue said one of the goals of the accreditation is to reach out to the community with more messages of highway and secondary road safety.
The department averages 22,000 hours of training, or four weeks per officer, every year. Howard said the public will see few changes in the department's already professional reputation, but Clue added the public will receive the benefits.
"We're a flagship agency for doing what we've done" to obtain accreditation, Clue said. "Other agencies will look to us for assistance on how to get involved in CALEA."