Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance is celebrating earning the department's first accreditation in its history.
JACKSON In the 134 years since its formation, the Jackson Police Department has earned its accreditation.
On Feb. 17, The Jackson Police Department met all requirements for accreditation from the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission. JPD is the largest of the 27 agencies to be accredited in the state of Mississippi. The process to revamp JPD's policies and practices took a little over the year.
Police Chief Lee Vance said one of the most valuable things about earning the accreditation is knowing that his administration is making history. Since 1882, JPD has worked hard to protect the citizens of Jackson, he said, and for the first time since its formation, JPD hasn't been accredited.
"(JPD) been validated by a police standards board independent of the police department and shows that we are up to par and are the standard as far as our policies," Chief Vance told the Jackson Free Press today. "Everything that we do, everything we practiced has been recognized as being state of the art."
Deputy Chief Joseph Wade said the accreditation will build credibility with other police departments as well as with citizens. In a fairly arduous process that took over a year, JPD updated multiple policies and met all 140 standards set in various areas, such as ways to provide adequate training for officers, control crime and provide more services to the community.
"(The accreditation) assures officers that we're being progressive in the way we carry out what we do," Wade told the Jackson Free Press. "It builds credibility with us to other departments (as well as) credibility with our citizens. … The standards that we changed were to move us forward with policies and becoming more progressive.."
"We've set a goal to be the best police department in the country," Vance said. "We see this as a building block for us to grow; it's part of a solid foundation."
Year to date, grand larceny, armed robbery and carjacking are slightly higher than the same period in 2015. In other categories, crime is lower for the same period, including half as many rapes (eight so far in 2016 versus 16 in 2015). All precincts are registering lower crimes, especially crimes against persons with the same number of murders year-to-date (six, with three of those in the last 28 days). Precinct 4, which covers northeast Jackson, reported 14 reported incidents from Feb. 15 to Feb 21
Also year-to-date, Precinct 2 saw the largest crime drop at 41.6 percent down. Precinct 1 was second with crime down 28.7 percent. Precinct 3 is down 1.2 percent, and Precinct 4 is up slightly, 1.9 percent, with a 33.3 percent decrease in violent crime but a 9 percent increase in property crime.
"While the numbers are going down, the level of professionalism is going up," Chief Vance said at the Feb. 24 COMSTAT meeting. "We may not be able to control crime, but we can control the way we treat people."
On April 14, the Jackson Police Department will hold a Community Awareness Project as a part of the National Crime Victims' Rights Week at the Jackson Medical Mall. JPD will partner with local organizations to provide the public knowledge of general rights and services for victims of crime, including cyber crime, human trafficking and house burglaries. There will also be information on preventative measures citizens can take against crime.
Email news tips to Deputy News Editor Maya Miller at [email protected] Follow her @MayaLMiller on Twitter. Read more crime reporting at jfp.ms/jxncrime.
CORRECTIONS: In the original version, two of the above precinct number were left out. It is corrected, and we apologize.