The Center for Domestic Preparedness’ Field Force Operations Training Program is now accredited by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation (FLETA) Board of Directors.
Through the FLETA process, federal law enforcement agencies voluntarily submit their training programs for review by their peers. A team of FLETA-qualified assessors reviews the program directives, policies, and other evidence to support the 52 standards developed by law enforcement professionals and experts from the academic community to promote excellence in law enforcement training and operations. The standards cover four areas: Program Administration, Program Training Staff, Program Training Development, and Program Training Delivery.
“This accreditation demonstrates that the CDP provides quality standards for the development and delivery of the curriculum. It’s the Good Housekeeping seal of approval on our training,” said Bernice Zaidel, the CDP’s Assistant Director of Curriculum Development and Evaluation. “This accreditation shows the law enforcement officers who take the Field Force Operations course that FEMA and the CDP are adhering to a national standard that has been established by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers.”
To receive FLETA accreditation, curriculum staff provided evidence that the CDP adheres to FLETA training standards. “FLETA gave us a frame of reference in June 2015 that established the standards. Right after that, we hit the ground running to document the evidence for each standard. We had to show the evidence through our policies, processes and procedural documents that we adhere to those standards,” Zaidel said.
In addition to presenting evidence, the CDP staff hosted the FLETA assessors during two visits to the CDP. The CDP staff offered evidence of processes such as how students register for training, how students flow through security, provided a CDP orientation, and described how students receive certificates when they graduate, Zaidel said.
“We gave the FLETA Assessors a tour of the entire facility. They were interested in how the training and curriculum supported the students,” Zaidel said.
“The tour was phenomenal,” said FLETA assessor Kay Arthur, the lead assessor who evaluated the CDP’s program. “I thought FEMA was just there to help when your house is destroyed by a tornado or other disaster.”
“We got to watch a [Field Force Operations] exercise where the law enforcement students were out there on the hot tarmac protecting property and calmly pushing the rowdy protestors (portrayed by role players) back,” Arthur said.
The CDP’s accreditation is valid for up to five years. Each year, the CDP will submit an annual report to demonstrate that the CDP continues to adhere to the FLETA standards.
“The annual report demonstrates that we are adhering to those standards. It says we are providing quality, efficient, and effective training from the time of registration all the way through to the time they complete the course,” Zaidel said.
“The accreditation process holds all of the academies accountable to the same standards,” Arthur explained. “Once you get accredited, the hard work is just beginning. Accreditation is not a destination; it’s a journey. It’s a living, ever-evolving process that changes as the standards change.”
Zaidel gave credit to several CDP staff members who contributed to the accreditation process. The CDP accreditation team members were Mike Aguilar, CDP Registrar; Clay Calkins; Training Specialist; Bill Figner, Lead Instructional Systems Specialist; Bernadette Hays, the CDP’s Records Liaison Officer/Records Management Specialist at the time; Peggy Luallen, the Contracting Office’s Representative for the CDP’s training support contract; Roy Marlow, Manager of Curriculum Development; Beverly Flint, Instructional System Specialist in Evaluation at the time; Neal Morrison, the Contracting Office’s Representative for the CDP’s training delivery contract; Brad Smith, Supervisory Instructional Systems Specialist; and Zaidel.
The CDP is building its own corps of FLETA assessors, which will help the CDP stay current on FLETA standards and assist with accrediting other agencies.
The CDP is considering other courses for FLETA accreditation. The CDP is also accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training. The IACET accreditation enables CDP students to earn continuing education credits for applicable resident and nonresident CDP training.