Texas Police Chiefs Association Recognition Based on More Than 168 Best Practices Criteria

The VIA Transit Police Department (VTPD) has received the Texas Police Chiefs Association certificate of recognition award for demonstrating compliance with 172 Texas law enforcement best-practices criteria, based on its most recent submission for review and assessment by the association. The practice is necessary to maintain the continued recognition status of performing as an accredited police department in the state of Texas.

VIA was first awarded accreditation by the Texas Police Chiefs Association best-practices recognition program in November 2019. The program was developed to ensure an agency has addressed the most critical law enforcement issues in both policy and operations, and to assist agencies in the efficient and effective delivery of service and the protection of citizens’ rights.

An appointed committee of Texas police chiefs from across the state developed the best practices, conducts the final review and assessment of an agency’s efforts and awards the “Recognized” status.

The process included a chief’s orientation training, complete submission of policies and procedures, site and facilities visits by compliance assessors, random ride-alongs with patrol officers, personnel interviews, equipment audits and review of processes in support of meeting the 172 criteria of best practices, including specific aspects of law enforcement operations, such as use of force, protection of citizens’ rights, evidence management, patrol and investigative operations.

Out of the 2,769 law enforcement agencies in Texas, VTPD is the 154th police agency to achieve Recognized status, and one of only two current transit police departments within the state — the other being Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). The Recognized status is awarded for a four-year period. During the four-year period, the agency must submit annual reports and show continued compliance with performance standards and criteria. This achievement further demonstrates VIA’s ongoing commitment to excellence and continual improvement to the way the agency provides service to its customers, community, and region.

Photo at top: Transit Police Administrative Assistant Liz Reyes (l-r), VIA Transit Police Officer Stephen Baker, VIA Transit Police Chief Mark Witherell, Blanco Police Chief Scott Ruben, and VIA Transit Police Officer Jordan Simmons.