The “Accreditation of Mexican Law Enforcement Agencies, Emergency Communications Centers and Police Academies to International Standards”, also referred to as the “Enhancing Professionalism in Mexican Law Enforcement Agencies” project is a multi-year initiative of the National Police Foundation (NPF) and the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) with funding support from the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). The purpose of the project is to improve the professionalization of Mexican law enforcement agencies by increasing the number of Mexican agencies that are accredited through one of CALEA’s accreditation programs. NPF provides on-site and remote technical assistance to law enforcement agencies, training centers, and communications centers throughout the stages of the accreditation process in order to prepare agencies for an official accreditation hearing before CALEA’s Board of Commissioners, in which they are awarded official accreditation status upon demonstrating meeting the required standards.
Since 2016, NPF, CALEA and INL have identified potential accreditation candidate agencies at the municipal, state, and federal levels in Mexico. Those agencies were invited to participate in the project and, if they committed to doing so, NPF worked with them to prepare for the accreditation process. This preparation included developing familiarity with and understanding of the CALEA approach, assessing agency readiness, identifying and planning for policy and procedural changes necessary for the agency to be considered for accreditation status, and preparing agency leaders and staff for the CALEA on-site assessment.
NPF and CALEA agree that accrediting Mexico’s law enforcement agencies, communications centers, and training academies will further enhance opportunities for material reform by creating a strong policy foundation on which Mexican agencies can consistently operate and bolster community relations and public trust between Mexican officers and citizens. Where CALEA accreditation is awarded, the agencies will experience significant opportunities to leverage greater reforms and to maintain the credibility and professionalization that comes with internationally recognized accreditation.
Unlike some previous projects that have attempted to improve policing in Mexico through certification of individual police officers, this project is an unprecedented attempt to improve the professionalism of all the members of an increasing number of Mexican criminal justice agencies through their compliance with international standards established by CALEA. Among the anticipated results of the project is an increase in the number of CALEA-accredited agencies in Mexico, improved policies and procedures, and increased citizen and officer perceptions of professionalism within the agencies. When the project got started, there were about 12 Mexican agencies in the CALEA Accreditation process—now, that number is close to 100. To date, NPF has helped 28 Mexican agencies become accredited through CALEA and is assisting 48 additional agencies proceed methodically toward their initial accreditation. Agencies participating in the project are located in 26 of Mexico’s 32 states and include 29 public safety training academies, 25 law enforcement agencies, and 22 public safety communications centers. The accreditation process, once completed, is a proven contemporary management model and presents the agency’s Chief Executive Officer with a blueprint that promotes the efficient use of resources and improves service delivery—regardless of the size, geographic location, or functional responsibilities of the agency – for many years thereafter. This methodology is sustainable once the foundation for accreditation is built and can then further enhance the community trust and police accountability.
The Enhancing Professionalism in Mexican Law Enforcement Agencies Initiative (Award # SINLEC19CA0104-A002) is funded by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). With this funding support, NPF and CALEA have joined with INL in an unprecedented and unique collaboration to support the U.S.-Mexico Mérida Initiative and to help foster professional police services, trust, and confidence in Mexican law enforcement.
National Police Foundation
Interim Director, International Programs
National Police Foundation
police services, accreditation, law enforcement standards, CALEA, emergency communications centers, assessing agency readiness, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs