MPD receives reaccreditation, promotes one

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Wed., Dec. 14, 2011
Captain Christopher Davis is now responsible for the Manchester Police Department's administrative services. Photos by Martha Marteney.
Captain Christopher Davis is now responsible for the Manchester Police Department's administrative services. Photos by Martha Marteney.

Verification by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies is considered one of the top recognitions of a police department's professionalism and excellence. The Manchester Police Department was recently awarded its seventh accreditation by the CALEA, having maintained its accreditation since 1989.

Every three years, CALEA’s independent team of assessors examines the MPD’s policies and procedures and its adherence to them. There is also an investigation of the management, operations and support services. The MPD conducts its own self-evaluation on a regular basis to assure that all aspects of the CALEA accreditation are continually met.

For MPD Police Chief Marc Montminy, the exercise is one way to show the town that the department is following so-called “best practices,” and following its own rules and regulations. “Cops are fine with the rules, as long as they know the rules,” said Montminy. Reviewing the policies and procedures ensures that the department is run professionally and clarifies expectations. The department also benefits from lower insurance rates because of the CALEA accreditation.

In addition to the office and procedural reviews, the CALEA assessors conduct ride-alongs with the officers, verify property room evidence logs, and solicit public comments about the department. Coincidentally, the assessors arrived the day of the tropical storm in August. “They were impressed with our storm response,” said Montminy. He noted that dispatch and evidence were also very well-rated.

After CALEA’s review, a lengthy report is generated and reviewed by the accreditation council. Montminy sat before the council to address any concerns. For example, the accreditation council needed to understand that Manchester’s homicide rate recently went up 800 percent due to the Hartford Distributors incident, which resulted in eight deaths in one day. The council ultimately voted unanimously to renew Manchester’s accreditation.

In other department news, Lt. Christopher Davis was promoted to the rank of captain and will oversee the department’s administration, including budgeting, grant management and finance. Capt. William Darby is in charge of support services, including dispatch, records and community support, and Capt. Barrington Prawl is responsible for the field services, including patrol. Davis is filling a vacancy created when Capt. James Neiswanger left the MPD to become the police chief in Holyoke, Mass.

“He’s an important addition to the command function,” said Montminy, noting that in Davis’ 18 years with the MPD, he has had long experience both as a patrol officer and a detective, as well as administrative functions. Davis will continue to serve as the public information officer, as well.

Davis said he “caught the bug” of being a police officer when he started as an auxiliary officer in Groton, Conn., at age 18. Although a volunteer position, Davis said, “I looked at it as an investment in my future.” At the time, Davis was in college and working part-time. He knew he wanted to be a police officer in order to help people. He also enjoyed the camaraderie among the officers and the excitement. “When I was an auxiliary officer, I just wanted to be hired as a cop,” he said.

The MPD was Davis’ first official position. While rising through the ranks, he has been in patrol, served as a field training officer, detective, patrol sergeant and supervisor. Although Davis said he wanted to be a canine officer, the timing was never right. Instead, he moved into investigations and the detective unit.

“I’ve had a great career,” said Davis. He finds the work challenging, interesting and satisfying. “While I certainly miss certain aspects of some of my previous assignments,” he said, “I am looking forward to helping lead the direction of our agency.” In particular, he wishes he had more daily contact with the community. “You do come in contact with a lot of good people,” he said.

The MPD is funded for 120 positions, but currently only 116 are filled. “We’re constantly hiring,” said Montminy. The application process is conducted electronically through the website MPD is one of the few police departments that require a minimum of two years of college education or military experience in order to be eligible to apply.

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