MBTS, Essex Police Departments Again Secure Coveted State Accreditation


Manchester-by-the-Sea and Essex police departments have each earned hard-won accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC).

The years-long, self-initiated process includes rigorous independent review and evaluation by MPAC of the department's compliance with 257 mandatory standards and 125 optional standards.  

"Review by MPAC is a rigorous process, but we welcome the opportunity to have our department reviewed top to bottom by an outside, independent agency," said Chief Todd Fitzgerald. "I would like to thank Executive Officer Lt. Mark A. McCoy, Accreditation Manager Officer Ryan L. Machain, and Sgt. Stephen Louf for their hard work and dedication. This was a total team effort that included everyone."

Essex Police Chief Paul Francis agreed, saying the independent review by MPAC helped the department prepare for the move into the new Public Safety Building completed last year.  It also helped the department prepare for all of the changes in law enforcement brought about by the police reform law.

“I am proud that everyone at the Essex Police Department has worked so hard to ensure we remain a professional, responsive, and compassionate police department that adheres to the best practices of law enforcement,” said Francis.

To achieve accreditation status, departments must meet all applicable mandatory standards, as well as 70 percent of the optional standards.

An assessment team from MPAC visited the Manchester department in September 2021 and the Essex department in October 2021, reviewing management, operations, technical support activities, policies, emergency response planning, training, communications, facilities, equipment, evidence handling, use of force, vehicular pursuit policies, prisoner transportation and holding facilities among other topics.

The accreditation process is aimed at providing accountability among agency personnel and ensuring policies are applied evenhandedly; providing a statewide norm against which agencies can judge their performance; providing a basis to correct deficiencies before they become public problems; providing independent evaluation of agency operations; enhancing the reputation of an agency, increasing public confidence; and minimizing insurance costs and agency liability.

Both departments earned accreditation in 2019, when accreditation rates among Massachusetts municipalities was below 10 percent.  Accreditation lasts for three years before departments must have their operations reviewed again. 

“I would like to thank our Accreditation Manager, Sgt. Daniel Bruce, as well as Sgt. Thomas Shamshak and Sgt. Ryan Davis, who helped keep officers and staff up to date on training and other requirements of accreditation,” said Francis.  “I am proud of our entire department. Without buy-in from all members of this organization, we could not have achieved the high standards required for MPAC accreditation.”

massachusetts police accreditation commission, stephen louf, paul francis, thomas shamshak, daniel bruce, todd fitzgerald, massachusetts, police reform law, essex police department, mark a. mccoy, essex police, ryan davis, ryan l. machain, accreditation manager officer