Houghton Police Department to be reviewed for accreditation starting Wednesday

An assessment team will be at the department on Wednesday and Thursday, reviewing aspects of the department.
Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 7:11 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - The Houghton Police Department is looking to be the second accredited police department in the Upper Peninsula.

The first was the Marquette Police Department in 2018.

A department must meet professional standards to be accredited, with the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police (MACP) handling this process. According to Houghton Police Chief John Donnelly, there are over 100 standards that need to be met to qualify for accreditation.

“It’s set forth through the MACP,” said Donnelly. “They come up with the standards, and then we have to show proof of what we’re doing to make sure that we’re performing at a level to make us accredited.”

Donnelly says accreditation is also a way to improve the department as a whole and build better trust with the community.

“Our policies and procedures were not as strong as they should have been a couple of years ago,” continued Donnelly. “It was something that we recognized as a need to try and strengthen, and this is a wonderful way to not only strengthen our policies and procedures but make sure that we’re actually following them.”

Officer Kirk Mills and Police Administrative Assistant Polly Salmi are to thank for making this all possible, says Donnelly.

An assessment team will be at the department on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Their review will include checking archived evidence, department money handling and officer behavior.

“Our assessors will finish up their process on Thursday,” said Salmi. “They will present whether we should be approved for accreditation to the MACP board.”

Whether the department receives accreditation will be revealed at a Lower Michigan conference in September.

Public opinion is also a key step in the process.

“Part of that process is to have a two-hour, public call session,” added Salmi. “Where people can give their feedback on our department.”

Interested parties can call (906) 481-4630 to give feedback from 9 to 11 a.m. on Thursday morning. There is a five-minute limit.