In credit crunch, Beaufort police let national accreditation slip

The Beaufort Police Department won't spend more than $7,000 in fees and manpower to maintain national law enforcement accreditation, Chief Matt Clancy says.

It's the same accreditation former Beaufort Police Chief Jeff Dowling is being paid $60,000 to help the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office earn and that the Bluffton Police Department received last year.

"We're trying to cut back on the 'nice tos' and focus more on the 'have tos,' " Clancy said. "It's a pretty expensive process, and those are resources that we want to devote to front-line services."

In July 2007, the Beaufort Police Department became the first law enforcement agency in the county to be certified by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Agencies must comply with more than 450 guidelines that cover everything from police chases to where certain files are kept.

Dowling was chief when the department was initially accredited and declined to comment on Clancy's decision to allow the certification to expire.

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