October 19, 2018  

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University Police Earns Continued State Accreditation, Promotes Officers

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The University of Southern Mississippi’s University Police Department (UPD) has again earned the confidence of the state’s lead accrediting agency for law enforcement entities.

Earlier this year, UPD earned unanimous approval from the commissioners of the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission (MSLEAC) to be awarded four more years of Mississippi State Re-Accreditation, following the completion of a successful MSLEAC on-site assessment.

After MSLEAC was established in 2004, the state accreditation program followed, implemented by the Mississippi Sheriffs’ Association and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety based on similar programs in 17 other states. Its purpose is to establish professional standards and recognize excellence in the law enforcement community.

“We always strive for excellence and to meet the needs of our students, faculty, staff and stakeholders," said UPD Chief Bob Hopkins. "Earning continued accreditation shows we’re complying with standards and best practices, established internally and externally, and is beneficial to us in recruiting quality staff.” 

Hopkins said UPD looks forward to securing national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in March 2018.

UPD also recently expanded its command team with the promotion of veteran officers within its ranks, including:

*Rusty Keyes from Detective Captain to Assistant Chief of Police. A Petal, Miss. native, Keyes has spent 28 years in law enforcement, including with the Hattiesburg Police Department prior to joining UPD in 2006.

*Charles Chandler from Captain over the patrol division to Major of Operations. Chandler came to UPD 11 years ago after serving 25 years with the Plymouth, Mass. Police Department. Chandler has played a key role in helping UPD with accreditation compliance.

On Dec. 1, UPD promoted two officers to the rank of lieutenant, including DeJeremy Thomas and Shannon Yates. Thomas is a native of Canton, Miss. and is a graduate of Pearl River Community College, USM and Grambling State University. After completing training at the Southern Regional Public Safety Institute at Camp Shelby as a self-sponsor, he joined UPD in 2014, serving with the Patrol Division and Bike Unit. He will serve as shift supervisor for Platoon A.

Yates, a Collins, Miss. native, also attended the Southern Regional Public Safety Institute and worked previously with the Covington County Sheriff’s Department. He has been with UPD for four years, during which time he has earned several advanced officer training certificates. Lt. Yates will now serve as shift supervisor of Platoon D.

“It’s always a good day when we can promote officers from within who have worked hard to achieve excellence,” said Assistant Chief Rusty Keyes, who presided over the promotion ceremony of Thomas and Yates. “I know they’ll continue to serve UPD and the university community very well.”

For more information about USM’s University Police Department, visit https://www.usm.edu/police.