Benton PD accreditation

Shawn Butler (right) presents Benton Police Chief Stephen Sanderson (center) and Sergeant Carl Curtner with an accreditation certificate from the Kentucky Association of Chief’s of Police.

The Benton Police Department is one of only 118 law enforcement agencies in Kentucky to receive accreditation this year from the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police (KACP). There are over 500 agencies statewide that are eligible.

Shawn Butler, director of the KACP, made a five-hour trip to make the presentation of accreditation to Police Chief Stephen Sanderson and Sergeant Caleb Curtner at the Sept. 21 meeting of the Benton City Council. The presentation would usually take place at KACP’s annual conference, but it was canceled this year due to COVID.

“In a normal year, it’s tough (to receive the accreditation). In a year like this, as we are sitting here with masks on and everything else going on in the world, it was even tougher,” said Butler.

The accreditation program demonstrates that agencies meet commonly accepted professional standards for efficient and effective operations according to the KACP website. All operations of the agency, including policies and procedures, are evaluated by an independent team.

There are four phases of the accreditation process — application, self-assessment, on-site assessment and review and decision. There are 172 standards and sub-standards that must be met to achieve the accreditation.

“I want to say something about the sergeant here and the chief. These guys took a look. They did everything we asked them. We brought a team down here. We went through your evidence room. We went through all your policies. We went through all the work you do. I want to tell you they did an excellent job, and it’s the fifth time your department has been through this,” Butler told council members.

Sanderson explained that Curtner took the lead on the accreditation process and expressed appreciation for his time and determination. “He did an awesome job on it,” Sanderson said.

“We are so proud of you guys. You just don’t have any idea how proud we are of you. Such hardworking men,” said Benton Mayor Rita Dotson.

The accreditation also will give the department a 10% savings on its liability insurance.