The Sherman Police Department joins its Denison counterpart in becoming a recognized law enforcement agency for having “Best Practices” by the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s Law Enforcement Recognition Program.

“It’s been a long haul getting this put together to get everything in order to get the standards,” Sgt. Brett Mullen said.

Mullen said the department began the process in 2014. In order to be compliant, the agency had to achieve all 168 of the best practices for law enforcement agencies as outlined by the program. The department learned it made the list on Sept. 4 following a lengthy review process.

“Nothing we did took dramatic changes, we always pride ourselves on being a great professional police department,” Mullen said. “We didn’t have to completely recreate the wheel anywhere, it was just a matter of making sure we were fine tuning what we were doing right to meet these best practices. It ensures people in our community sees a formal authority from the outside is telling you we are meeting the accepted practices.”

The program was started in 2006 as a way to certify law enforcement agencies in their ability to provide quality service to the communities they serve. The best practices cover all aspects of an agency’s operations from its use of force, protection of citizen rights, pursuits, to patrol and investigative operations.

“They look at everything we do, every factor it goes everywhere from our use of force to emergency vehicle operations,” Mullen said. “It’s the way we conduct our search and seizures to how we make arrests. It covers everything we do in our business.”

The agency began the lengthy self-review process to get on the road to recognition in January 2014. Following the internal review, there was an audit by an outside agency to confirm the department’s compliance with all 168 standards. There was a final, on-site review which took place on Aug. 15-16 of this year. The on-site review is conducted by trained police chiefs from other areas within the state. The results were then delivered to the TPCA recognition committee for their final analysis before the agency could receive their recognized status.

“We want the public to know we do meet the excellent standards this organization provides,” Mullen said. “We are always looking for ways to improve our services this is just one of those ways we can say we were doing a good job before now this ensures we are up to date and doing the best possible thing for our citizens. We pride ourselves on being a very professional, prepared and competent police department. We also didn’t have to cut any functions during this process — everything we had before is still in place.”

Mullen said the department will have the opportunity to maintain certification following a future review.

“Getting the best practices in law enforcement right now shows we are doing the best we can,” he said. “It shows how we are willing to improve any way we can and how we do provide the best possible services.”