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Police department receives reaccreditation

After passing an extensive examination with flying colors, the Farmville Police Department has received state accreditation for the next four years.

This is the second time the state’s Department of Criminal Justice Services has bestowed the ranking to the department.

“My job now is to work with agencies trying to become accredited,” said Derrick Mays, accreditation center manager with the Division of Law Enforcement and Security Services. “That has not been an issue with the Farmville Police Department. This is an agency that works very hard and takes their accreditation process very seriously. They have worked diligently — and I do mean diligently — with the amount of things and changes they’ve gone through in four years to maintain the quality of police work that you guys see out in the field.”

The presentation of the accreditation certificate came during the Farmville Town Council’s Wednesday work session.

In March, Police Chief Andy Ellington informed town leaders of the good news.

“We started the (state) accreditation process eight years ago,” Ellington told the town council during its March work session. “And when we started this process, our department was in shambles. It really was.”

“I’m happy to say we just finished (the accreditation process) this morning at 9 o’clock, and out of 189 files, we had one returned to us that we had corrected immediately and we came out with flying colors. We are reaccredited for another four years,” Ellington said in March.

During his Wednesday presentation, Mays said a lot of support during the reaccreditation process came from the town council and the community.

“You have a grade-A police department,” he said. “Some agencies will go through this process without one return. Some agencies go through with multiple returns. But it’s a constant learning and building process. Farmville Police Department came through this thing with shining colors. They met each challenge and each challenge they handled professionally, and they responded accordingly.”

Mays gave credit to Ellington and the officers and staff of the department, along with “the community at large, as well as you all,” he told the town council  Wednesday. “It’s not something that they can do by themselves. It’s something that has to be done and embraced as a whole. And I can tell you that they have embraced with the community to do this, so I can see the community embraces them as well.”

Reading the certificate, Mays said, the department came before the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission on May 11 and met the requirements set forth “and is therefore certified as an accredited agency for a period of four years.”

“In order to get this done, this has not been an easy job,” Ellington said after receiving the certificate. “As you know, we’ve been through three chiefs in this four years, which with each chief, everything changes. But in order to get to where we are today, it hasn’t come without the support of you, the council, the mayor and the town manager.”

“The men and women that are in this room today, I can’t tell you how proud of them I am,” Ellington said of his officers and staff. “To go through the transformations that they’ve been through in the last four years and to stick with it and to see this job through, I commend them all.”

He said the community, council members and officers “did it together. We are a team.”

Ellington also gave praise and credit to the department’s accreditation manager, Dale Dowdy. Ellington said Dowdy came into her position “not having any knowledge whatsoever of what she was about to get into.”

Ellington said without Dowdy’s determination, “we wouldn’t be here today. We would have failed,” he said of the reaccreditation process, presenting Dowdy with a certificate of commendation.

Mayor David Whitus offered thanks from the council to the department and its officers “for the great job you’ve done for achieving the accreditation and to tell you how proud that we all are of the Farmville Police Department. We tell folks all the time you guys … are second to none and congratulations on achieving this second (term) of accreditation.”