Renton Police Department accredited by top state agency

RPD meets standards for best practices after two-plus years of adjustments.

After working to meet standards for a few years, the Renton Police Department is officially accredited by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

On May 22, the Renton Police Department received its Law Enforcement Accreditation Award for “successfully meeting the professional standards as outlined in Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Accreditation Program,” according to the plaque the department received from WASPC.

RPD Deputy Chief Ryan Rutledge said accreditation means the department operates under the industry’s best practices and standards. Additionally, he said accreditation is not only a commitment to excellence, but also a reflection of the trust and support the RPD has earned from the community.

“It’s a big deal for us and the Renton Police Department. We value the culture we bring and public safety in the Renton community. We’ve demonstrated now to our community that we have met these high standards set by law-specific accreditation,” Rutledge said. “So really, the recognition is a testament to the professionalism of all of the hard work and the commitment to meet these high standards by all members of the Renton police.”

Rutledge said WASPC sets policy standards, which they can tweak to adjust to the department. He said they have 18 categories, and of those categories, there are 145 total subcategories, each of which must meet the WASPC standard.

He said the department then has to demonstrate it is keeping up with those standards by demonstrating case reports or doing walk-throughs in places such as the evidence room with an accreditation manager. Rutledge said the adjustments were not huge for many standards, but they had to undergo a rigorous process to demonstrate they were on par.

Rutledge said the process to become accredited began about two years after he became commander, and he was in charge of the department’s accreditation. Rutledge said the department has been accredited in the past, but has not gone through the process of becoming accredited since 2016.

Rutledge said the previous organization under which they had been accredited was the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. He said this organization is more national, and in recent years, WASPC has become the lead agency for accreditation in Washington state, being more in line with Washington state than a national accreditation agency.

Rutledge said one area they needed to improve was their method of tracking data, which they did through a spreadsheet. He said this would create issues because when someone would take over a position, the spreadsheet would be difficult to navigate for the new person, so instead, they invested in technology to streamline how they kept track of data.

Rutledge said they track when people are issued respirators if they’re tested on how to use them, for example, and then they also track medical screenings. Previously, Rutledge said that data would be with just the quartermaster, but now, with the new technology, when someone needs to change out their respirator because it’s expiring, the quartermaster gets an alert, and so do others in the department.

“What it does is it just keeps things organized where we can track it, and we can show the accreditation committee that we’re much more organized and that a mask isn’t going to go expired without somebody knowing it, and it gives us the ability to stay on top of it and order it,” Rutledge said.