Lancaster city officials want to hire an outside expert to review police department policies and procedures and make recommendations for changes to bring the department in line with best practices.
The city committed to the review this summer amid protests following the police-custody death of George Floyd in Minnesota. The review will also inform the department’s effort to acquire accreditation from the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.
“This summer, we committed to performing a comprehensive policy review to prepare our police bureau for accreditation which aligns the City of Lancaster with best practices in policing nationwide,” Jess King, chief of staff for Mayor Danene Sorace, said in an email about the endeavor.
According to the request for proposal, the city is looking for a consultant to “assure that the bureau’s policies and procedures reflect and express the city’s core values and priorities (quality, teamwork, respect and integrity), incorporate best accepted practices and are consistent with 21st century policing pillars, while providing clear direction to ensure that officers lawfully, effectively and ethically carry out their lawful enforcement responsibilities based on constitutional standards and standards that are necessary” for accreditation.
According to the city, the police chiefs association’s accreditation program “establishes a credible framework for evaluating agency practices and procedures, improves law enforcement and community relations, and develops improved methods for providing services to the community.”
It will also ensure the department is following accepted industry practices and holding itself accountable. And it can save departments money in liability insurance costs, according to information on the association’s website.
Pennsylvania has more than 1,100 law enforcement agencies, but just 126 are accredited, according to the association. In Lancaster County, East Lampeter, Lititz, Manheim Township, and the Northern Lancaster County Regional departments are accredited, along with Franklin & Marshall College’s public safety department.
The city’s proposal request said the project is expected to take 18 months. It’s not known how much the project may cost, but the city will use $43,168 from a 2020 federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant to help pay the costs.
The deadline to submit bids is Dec. 7. The proposal request can be viewed at PennBid, an online bid management program.