Award Details

The Bismarck Police Department was first awarded Accreditation status in 1991 by the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and has maintained its Accreditation status since that time.

In July 2011 Bismarck Police Department received the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) Certificate of Meritorious Accreditation, for having been successfully accredited for 15 or more years. The Bismarck Police Department had been accredited since 1991 and is one of two law enforcement agencies in North Dakota, and 700 nationally and internationally to receive accreditation.

In July 2014 Bismarck Police Department received the CALEA Accreditation with Excellence award.  In order to be considered for this award an agency must comply with the following:

  • Must have a minimum of two previous consecutive CALEA Accreditation awards.
  • Must not have conditions or noncompliance issues resulting from the current or last assessment.
  • Current assessment must have been conducted under the CALEA® Gold Standard Assessment model.

  • At the time of the current assessment, the agency must be in compliance with 90 percent of all applicable other-than-mandatory standards.    
  • Current Assessment Report must have limited file maintenance and not more than two applied discretion issues.
  • Must not be operating under any active Federal Consent Decree or Memorandum of Understanding, or state-level complementary action.   
  • Must not currently be affected by issues that detract from the overall tenets or goals of CALEA Accreditation.
  • Must receive a unanimous recommendation of support from the assigned CALEA Review Committee. 

The Law Enforcement Accreditation Program was the first credentialing program established by CALEA after its founding. It was originally developed to address what was seen as a need to enhance law enforcement as a profession and to improve law enforcement. That mission continues today. The program is open to all types of law enforcement agencies, on an international basis. It provides a process to systematically conduct an internal review and assessment of the agencies’ policies and procedures, and make adjustments wherever necessary to meet a body of internationally accepted standards.

Since the first CALEA Accreditation Award was granted in 1984, the program has become the primary method for an agency to voluntarily demonstrate their commitment to excellence in law enforcement. The standards upon which the Law Enforcement Accreditation Program is based reflect the current thinking and experience of law enforcement practitioners and researchers. Major law enforcement associations, leading educational and training institutions, governmental agencies, as well as law enforcement executives internationally, acknowledge CALEA’s Standards for Law Enforcement Agencies© and its Accreditation Program as benchmarks for today’s law enforcement agency.


Some of the advantages of CALEA Accreditation for the agency and the community served by the Bismarck Police Department:
  • CALEA Accreditation requires an agency to develop a comprehensive, well thought out, uniform set of written directives. This is one of the most successful methods for reaching administrative and operational goals, while also providing direction to personnel.
  • CALEA Accreditation standards provide the necessary reports and analysis a CEO needs to make fact-based, informed management decisions.
  • CALEA Accreditation requires a preparedness program be put in place – so an agency is ready to address natural or man-made unusual occurrences.
  • CALEA Accreditation is a means for developing or improving upon an agency’s relationship with the community.
  • CALEA Accreditation strengthens an agency’s accountability, both within the agency and the community, through a continuum of standards that clearly define authority, performance, and responsibilities.
  • Being CALEA Accredited can limit an agency’s liability and risk exposure because it demonstrates that internationally recognized standards for law enforcement have been met, as verified by a team of independent outside CALEA-trained assessors.
  • CALEA Accreditation facilitates an agency's pursuit of professional excellence.


To attain this elite position, we complied with 381 of the 482 standards required by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Not all standards are applicable to the Bismarck Police Department.  The department also undergoes: 
  • A thorough review of Department policy files and proofs-of-compliance
  • Inspections of our facility
  • Interviews with Department personnel
  • Reviewing opinions from citizens who wished to express their views regarding our service to the community.

This award exemplifies the day-to-day professionalism displayed by personnel of the Bismarck Police Department. We are currently scheduled for our reaccreditation assessment during June 2016, and we are confident we will maintain this coveted status well into the 21st century.