Woodstock police chief proud after assessment

WOODSTOCK – The Woodstock Police Department is feeling good in the days after a team of assessors reviewed the agency for possible accreditation.

“The assessors used words like extraordinary and exemplary,” said Woodstock Police Chief Eric Reiley who added he is proud of everyone in his department and in the town who helped get ready for the assessment.

A team from the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission arrived at the Woodstock Police Department Feb. 28 and stayed for three days. During that time, they reviewed policies and manuals to make sure they were up to date and meet the current standards. They inspected equipment and reviewed police reports as well as evidence management and operations activities. They rode with and questioned officers about proper procedures and even more important, why things were done the way they were done, Reiley said.

In fact, the department had to be in compliance with 190 standards in order to be considered for accreditation.

The assessors will forward their report to the commission which will vote on May 9 whether to award accreditation to Woodstock. If approved, the department would be the 99th  out of more than 400 law enforcement agencies in Virginia to be accredited. They would join the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office,  the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and the Winchester Police Department and the Winchester Sheriff’s Office  on the list of area agencies to be accredited, Reiley said.

The Strasburg Police Department is working toward accreditation but has not undergone an assessment.

“Accreditation lets your community know you are meeting the highest standards,” Reiley said.

A law enforcement agency has three years to prepare for an assessment for accreditation.

“We did it in two and a half years,” Reiley said.

Laura Shelton, the department’s accreditation manager, prepared the department for the assessment.

The department spent more than a year reviewing its policies in weekly meetings to make sure they were up to date with current case law, and when they needed rewording, Shelton said. She had to make sure they could prove they were meeting all 190 standards. They even conducted mock assessments with the commission

“I am ecstatic. It was a long three days, and I am very proud of our officers,” Shelton said.