The Port of Galveston Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Kenneth Brown, has earned state accreditation by implementing a comprehensive set of 170 professional best practices and quality standards.

The Texas Police Chiefs Association established the voluntary Law Enforcement Best Practices program in 2006 to give agencies a framework of operational standards. The port’s police department is one of only 181 police agencies out of 2,748 that have adopted and maintain this gold standard for Texas law enforcement.

THE JOURNEY TO ACCREDITATION

Earning and maintaining accreditation is a long-term commitment. The department submitted its application in February 2020 and began an internal audit against the standards.

The comprehensive standards include written procedures and documentation on a broad range of law enforcement best practices from officer licensing and training to internal investigations and use of deadly force.

The department reviewed all of its policies, procedures, equipment, facilities and operations against these standards and revised its procedures where necessary. The next step was submitting proof of compliance to independent assessors. After a review of written documents, a team of assessors conducted an onsite review of our department’s operations and facilities, as well as interviewing staff.

The assessors reported their findings to the Recognition Committee, which awarded the Recognized status in August. But, the work doesn’t end there.

Now, the department must continue to maintain these standards, document best practices and demonstrate compliance to be recertified in four years. Sgt. Carmen Parker, the department’s Best Practices program manager, will maintain all documentation and notify the department of any changes in state standards. As training officer, Detective Donald Cox will make sure that all our officers receive the required training.

ABOVE AND BEYOND

Achieving this recognition and maintaining these standards demonstrate that our port police operate at the state’s highest professional standards as they protect and serve the public and ensure security for our 840-acre complex.

Brown, who has more than 25 years of law enforcement experience, oversees a staff of 31 men and women who operate a 24/7 department with four shifts of law enforcement officers and dispatchers, a detective and a facilities security officer.

In 2020, they reported 1,892 incidents, ranging from parking violations, contraband offenses and public intoxication to assaults and thefts.

While they deal with many of the crime prevention and law enforcement issues that you find in any city, our officers receive specialized training to respond to situations unique to ports.

We closely coordinate with several local, state and federal agencies. These include the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Galveston County Sheriff’s Department and, of course, the city of Galveston police, fire and emergency medical services. Our department’s duties also include mitigating security breaches and industrial accidents.

I’m proud of these unsung heroes who go above and beyond to keep our port, its thousands of workers and its millions of guests safe and secure. Go Blue.

Rodger Rees is Galveston Wharves Port Director and CEO.

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