Lewes Police first to receive accreditation under new agency

Department passed extensive review of policies, practices
June 11, 2024

The Lewes Police Department is the first law enforcement agency in Delaware to be fully state-accredited under a newly established agency.

Members of the Delaware Police Accreditation Commission visited Lewes May 30 to conduct a rigid review of the department’s policies and practices, 108 different standards in all.

Chief Tom Spell said the review included the department’s use-of-force and vehicle chase policies, handling of evidence and officer training requirements. DPAC members toured the department to examine safety, security and equipment. Spell invited citizens and members of city council to observe the process.

“We had to show proof we were following policy. We knew what standards we had to meet, so we put in a lot of work over the last six months to make some changes, but we were way ahead of the curve,” Spell said.

When the review was complete, Spell said the commission unanimously recommended his department become fully state-accredited.

DPAC falls under the newly established Police Officer Standards and Training Commission. House Bill 206, signed into law last August, requires all police agencies be accredited by July 1, 2028.

“[Lewes Police] did a great job. They invited members of the public and council, which we hadn’t seen before. They were well prepared,” said Sean Moriarty, POST executive director.

Following initial accreditation, agencies need to be reaccredited every three years. During that three-year period, they must remain in compliance with accreditation and POST standards in order to function as a police agency. Moriarty said state funding is now dependent upon accreditation.

He said 11 law enforcement agencies in Delaware, mostly larger departments like Wilmington, New Castle County and Dover, are already nationally or state-accredited.

Moriarty said DPAC hopes to soon schedule reviews for Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Milton and other local departments.

“We have met, and we are working to assist every police chief and department in Delaware regarding the accreditation process. This includes associated standards, policies, procedures and proofs of compliance. Through those meetings and reviews, we are working to establish a schedule for accreditation assessments,” Moriarty said.

Spell said Lewes’ accreditation is expected to be made official at a POST meeting in Dover in July.

“It shows that we’re policing Lewes in the right manner, following professional guidelines and well-vetted by the state,” Spell said.


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