NORTH SMITHFIELD – It’s a small department that was among the first in the state to be recognized for meeting standards of professional policing, and thanks to hard work and commitment from members of the force, they have officially maintained those standards for six years and counting, according to those presenting an award this week.
The North Smithfield Police Department has attained its second re-accreditation with the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission, and was presented a certificate acknowledging the achievement at a Town Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 18.
Chief Tim Lafferty credited NSPD’s Capt. Russell Ridge and Lt. Greg Landry with leading the effort, a detailed process that requires hundreds of hours of work.
“Since I was appointed chief of police, they’ve been very instrumental in my transition,” Lafferty said of Ridge and Landry. “I’m very proud of them and I think they did a great job. I just do what they say and we get it done.”
Established in 2012, the statewide accreditation system comes with 200 standards for professional policing and nationally recognized best practices. The North Smithfield department first achieved the RIPAC accreditation status in 2015, proving the agency had met established guidelines for everything from what officers should post on social media during off hours, to the use of force.
“I know how difficult it is to not only attain accreditation, but to maintain accreditation status,” said Chief Richard St. Sauveur, chairman of the commission. “I can tell you that the town of North Smithfield should be extremely proud of their police department.”
The accreditation certificate, a stamp of quality for agencies across the state, must be renewed every three years, making 2021 the third time North Smithfield officers have completed the process.
“I know first hand what it takes, from the newest policeman, to the chief of police – what it takes to maintain an accreditation,” said Town Council President John Beauregard, a former lieutenant with the Rhode Island State Police. “There’s a lot of work involved.”
RIPAC Executive Director Christine Crocker noted that she has worked with North Smithfield law enforcement on all three certificates.
“I’ve watched them work as best the can in an older building that is not optimal to the demands of law enforcement,” Crocker said. “This is a small agency that works harder than most larger agencies, and they truly are committed to providing North Smithfield residents, and those who visit the town, with safety and the best services possible.”
Crocker noted that there are some agencies in the state still working to attain their first accreditation.
“You should be very proud of them,” Crocker said. “You have one of the best law enforcement agencies in the entire state.”