Punta Gorda Police Chief Albert “Butch” Arenal has been elected by members of the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc. (CFA) to serve as Chair of the accrediting body in 2012. The election took place yesterday, September 29th, at the Florida Accreditation Conference in Ponte Vedra, Florida, where twenty-one Florida law enforcement agencies were awarded accredited status. Chief Arenal served as Vice Chairman of the Commission in 2011, and has served as a Commissioner since he was appointed by the Florida Police Chiefs Association in December of 2008. Executive Director Julie Jones, head of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, was nominated by Chief Arenal and subsequently elected to serve as the Commission’s Vice Chair in 2012.

The Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation was established by charter on December 13, 1994 in response to a mandate by the Florida Legislature in 1993 (FSS 943.125). The purpose of the 12-member Commission is to establish a voluntary program for accreditation that can be achieved by all Florida law enforcement agencies, and to serve as the official accrediting body for law enforcement agencies within the State of Florida. Law enforcement accreditation has long been considered the “gold standard of excellence” in the law enforcement profession. The Commission is made up of Chief Executives from across the State of Florida and includes:

Four (4) Chiefs of Police appointed by the Florida Police Chief’s Association;
Four (4) Sheriffs appointed by the Florida Sheriff’s Association;
One (1) State Law Enforcement Representative selected by the State Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Association;
One (1) Appellate or Circuit Court Judge appointed by the Florida Supreme Court;
One (1) Representative (City Manager) appointed by the Florida League of Cities; and
One (1) Representative (County Commissioner) appointed by the Florida Association of Counties

Chief Arenal stated “I could not be more proud of the Punta Gorda Police Department and our important leadership role in helping to enhance the delivery of law enforcement services to all Florida citizens.” The Chief credits the Police Department’s success in the state accreditation program to the strong support of his City Manager and City Council and their commitment to excellence in public safety. Law enforcement accreditation provides a management blueprint for the efficient and effective administration of law enforcement agencies through established standards and best practices as determined by Florida law enforcement leaders.

Chief Arenal has been involved in the law enforcement accreditation process for the past 18 years. He has served as an accreditation assessor and team leader for more than 15 years; assessing law enforcement agencies across the State of Florida for standards compliance. He has also served as an instructor for CFA under the auspices of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, teaching accreditation management to criminal justice managers from across the State. Chief Arenal was also the 2005 recipient of the prestigious “Sheriff Neil J. Perry Service Award,” CFA’s highest award for top performance in the field of law enforcement accreditation and commitment to the law enforcement profession. Chief Arenal has also led the Florida Police Accreditation Coalition (FLA-PAC), a coalition of more than 200 Florida criminal justice agencies united in the pursuit and maintenance of accredited status. He also served as the organization’s Second Vice President (2001-2003), President (2003-2005), and Immediate Past President.

“As in the medical and education professions, law enforcement accreditation is a covenant of trust between our police department and our citizens ensuring that they will receive the highest level of public safety protection possible,” Chief Arenal stated. The Punta Gorda Police Department was initially accredited in 1998, with successive accreditation awards occurring in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010.

The Punta Gorda Police Department currently has seven other agency leaders who serve as certified accreditation assessors for CFA. Captain Thomas Lewis and Captain Jason Ciaschini are certified team leaders, and Lieutenants David Lipker, Melissa Reynolds, Jeffrey Woodard, and Joe King serve as assessors. Additionally, Administrative Services Supervisor Christy Arnold is an accreditation assessor. “Accreditation is a tremendous source for professional benchmarking, and is an integral part of the Punta Gorda Police Department’s succession planning and career development programs,” stated Chief Arenal. “I know our residents are very proud of the quality law enforcement services they receive. That service delivery is a direct result of the fine men and women who police their community every day.”

Prepared by:
Christy Arnold
Administrative Services Supervisor/PIO
Punta Gorda Police Department