Accreditation team for Sarasota Police Department welcomes public comments

Assessors to arrive in Sarasota on March 7, department says

Chief Bernadette DiPino. File photo

A team of assessors from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) is expected to arrive on March 7 to examine all aspects of the Sarasota Police Department’s policies and procedures, management, operations and support services, the department has announced.

As part of the process, a news release says, the general public is invited to offer comments to the assessment team. A copy of the standards is available online at under the 5.02 version, the release notes. For more information regarding the CFA or the procedure to offer written comments about the Sarasota Police Department’s ability to meet the standards of accreditation, the public may mail letters to CFA, P.O. Box 1489, Tallahassee, Florida  32302 or email comments to

The Police Department has to comply with approximately 260 standards to receive accreditation, the release explains. Many of them “are critical to life, health and safety issues,” the release says.

Cheryl Houpt, the accreditation manager for the Police Department, notes in the release that 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 places where they can observe examples of compliance with the standards, the release adds.

After the assessors complete their review, the release continues, they will report their findings to the full commission. It then will decide whether the Police Department will receive accreditation, which would be for three years.

“Verification by the team that the Sarasota Police Department meets the commission’s standards is part of a voluntary process,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino in the release. “This is a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence,” she added in the release.