LAFAYETTE, La. — Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope withdrew last year from his office’s re-accreditation process.
Accreditation is voluntary, as is the re-accreditation process, but the Lafayette City Marshal’s Office had earned the recognition through CALEA — the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies — in 2007, 2010 and 2013, according to the marshal’s office website.
KATC learned through testimony in Pope’s criminal hearing last week that the Marshal’s Office is not accredited and requested related correspondence and documents. An attorney who represents the Marshal’s Office immediately provided a July 2017 letter from Pope, in which he requests withdrawal from the accreditation process.
Pope does not give a reason for the request, but he asks for the opportunity to re-apply,
"As we process through recent events, we will continue to strive for professional excellence," Pope wrote, thanking the accreditation commission "for the consideration and assistance through this difficult time."
Read the letter here.
Because he’s under a gag order in his criminal case, Pope cannot talk to the media to provide further explanation. We’ve reached out to the marshal’s office attorney for comment.
According to the CALEA, earning accreditation indicates that a law enforcement agency meets hundreds of standards that indicate "professional excellence" in their work.
Once the initial accreditation is awarded to an agency the size of the marshal’s office, for an initial $8,475, CALEA re-evaluates the agency every three years at a rate of $3,470, according to CALEA’s website.
The Lafayette Police Department and Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, as well as other agencies throughout the state and U.S., maintain CALEA accreditation.
KATC has also sought additional records related to the marshal’s accreditation efforts. That request is pending with the law firm that produces records to the media on behalf of the agency.
Pope took office in 2015, so he would have been up for re-accreditation soon after taking the seat. But in the last quarter of his first year in office, he entered a legal battle over public records that’s continued to this day.
It’s resulted in two jail sentences, hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs billed to the Marshal’s Office and Pope’s seven-count felony indictment on counts of perjury and malfeasance.