WSPD wins award

WSPD wins award
November 07
10:00 2020

Chief Catrina A. Thompson announced that on July 31, 2020, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) awarded the Winston-Salem Police Department the distinguished Tri-Arc award. The CALEA Tri-Arc award is given to agencies with concurrent CALEA accreditations for their law enforcement, public safety communications, and public safety training academies. The award name was selected to reflect the three accreditation programs (“Tri”) and symbolize the synergistic power and light created as the result of an unusual achievement (“Arc”). The Winston-Salem Police Department is the first law enforcement agency in the State of North Carolina to achieve the elite Tri-Arc award and becomes one of 24 law enforcement agencies worldwide to attain this distinction and 18th in the United States. 

The Winston-Salem Police Department received it eighth Advanced Law Enforcement award. In addition, the police department achieved two new accreditations for its Communications Division (Public Safety Communications award) and Training Academy (Public Safety Training Academy award). The Winston-Salem Police Department was also the recipient of CALEA’s Meritorious Award for achieving 15 continuous years of accreditation.

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) is known as the international gold standard for public safety agencies. CALEA was established in 1979 as the credentialing authority through four executive associations: The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), National Sheriff’s Association (NSA), National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). These organizations establish best practices and a set of professional standards for the delivery of law enforcement services to the communities they serve. 

The Winston-Salem Police Department was initially accredited in 1997 and has voluntarily maintained accreditation since this time. The agency undergoes an annual review for each program, which is conducted by CALEA’s Compliance Service Members. Accreditation status is now awarded to an agency for a period of four years and is scheduled for an evaluation by a team of outside assessors at the end of the cycle. In March 2020, a team of four assessors visited our city and interviewed several employees, first responders, community leaders, and a public hearing was held to elicit comment.

Chief Thompson stated, “It is an honor and a privilege to work with the women and men of the Winston-Salem Police Department to serve the residents of the City of Winston-Salem. We are proud to be the first law enforcement agency in the State of N.C. to achieve accreditation for our law enforcement, training academy and communication center, earning us the CALEA Tri-Arc Award. It is our goal to continue to seek the highest level of standards pertaining to policies and police best practices.”

The department is involved with accreditation on a state, national, and international level. There are currently 73 CALEA accredited law enforcement agencies in North Carolina, 892 agencies in the United States, and 39 agencies internationally. An official presentation of the awards will be presented at the next Public Safety News Conference on Nov. 10 at 10 a.m. at the Vivian H. Burke Public Safety Center. 

For additional information on the awards, please see CALEA’s website at

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