Crestwood Police Department gains accreditation in a four-year process

By Erin Achenbach, Staff Reporter

The Crestwood Police Department is now accredited following four years of work toward that goal and a final assessment in March.

Jonathan Williams

The Crestwood force earned its accreditation through the Missouri Police Chiefs Charitable Foundation. At the videoconferenced Board of Aldermen meeting April 13, representatives from the foundation officially presented the department with its accreditation.

“This is a uniquely difficult time for law enforcement. Many cases of social injustice have definitely dominated news, causing protests, riots and tension between the communities and their police departments. … The establishment of an ethical environment and establishing a culture of accountability and transparency will in fact promote a better relationship between the police department and the community,” said former Creve Coeur Police Chief Glenn Eidman, who presented the accreditation to the city on behalf of the foundation. “Accreditation creates, promotes and highlights why being a police officer is a career and not just a job, requiring ownership, sacrifice and honor. It requires … accepting ownership in their profession.”

The foundation’s accreditation program outlines 208 standards based on best practices and requires departments that apply for accreditation meet those standards in their policies and practices.

The accreditation process has been nearly four years in the making, beginning in 2017 when Crestwood Sgt. David Grey began to review and rewrite the department’s orders and directives.

In 2015, then-County Executive Steve Stenger proposed new countywide police standards in an effort to address some of the issues exposed in St. Louis County’s municipal police departments in the wake of the Ferguson unrest in 2014.

The Crestwood Police Department was one of six departments — and the only one outside of North County — that would not have been in compliance with Stenger’s standards, alongside Pagedale, Velda City, Bel Ridge, Northwoods and Overland. Under the plan, every municipal police department would have to get accredited.

While Stenger’s police standards were rejected as unconstitutional by an appellate court in a case argued by Sunset Hills City Attorney Robert E. Jones, the Crestwood Police Department moved forward with the accreditation process anyway.

“We feel like this accreditation is confirmation of something we all know … we do have a world-class police department,” said Mayor Grant Mabie. “They serve and protect the citizens day in and day out, and we’re blessed to have them in our community.”

Going forward, the department will have to be reassessed every three years to ensure that it is maintaining the policing standards set by the foundation.

“I came from an accredited organization and know how hard it is and how daunting of a task it is,” said new Crestwood police Chief Jonathan Williams, who came to the city from the Webster Groves Police Department earlier this year.

In an interview with The Call, Williams said that accreditation shows the community that the department is committed to best practices.

“I think it’s important that the community knows we take that (best practices) seriously,” Williams said. “Our policies and procedures are constantly being evaluated and re-worked to keep us up to date with what the community expects of us.”