Over 50 years ago, the Presidential Commission Report, The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society, contained recommendations to increase professionalism and standardization of training. Decades later, this was supplemented by a follow-up analysis titled, The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society: Looking Back, Looking Forward. In a January 2000, report to Congress, the Commission on the Advancement of Federal Law Enforcement, reiterated and reinforced the need to develop and implement training standards. The Commission made it abundantly clear that core training in law enforcement functions, certification of the adequacy of training programs, and accreditation of agencies are all essential to maintaining public confidence in the professionalism of federal agents and officers.
Continuing in 2000, in an effort to increase the professionalism of federal law enforcement training, a task force of key training leaders from principal federal and state law enforcement agencies began work to collaboratively research to establish a premier training accreditation model. In the development of the model, federal law enforcement training professionals established standards and procedures to evaluate the training academies and training programs used to train federal law enforcement agents and officers. The intent was to develop an independent accreditation process that provided federal law enforcement organizations with an opportunity to voluntarily demonstrate that they met an established set of professional standards and received appropriate recognition. This independent accreditation process was developed and entitled the Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation (FLETA). To further support the goal of increasing the level of professionalism in law enforcement training, in March 2015, The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended in its interim report that “The Federal Government …support the development of partnerships with training facilities across the country to promote consistent standards for high quality training.” The Task Force reiterated its recommendation by saying that the starting point “…for changing the culture of policing is to change the culture of training academies.”
The accreditation of a federal law enforcement academy or training program demonstrates to the citizens they serve that the training organization has voluntarily submitted to a process of self-regulation and successfully achieved compliance with a set of standards that has been collectively established by their peers within their professional community. To accomplish this goal, trainers in the same discipline, working through a professional accrediting body, assist each other in evaluating and improving their professionalism. A high degree of public confidence in the competence and professionalism of federal agents and officers is an important outcome of this process. The focus of the effort is to accredit federal entry-level and advanced/specialized training programs, instructor training, and other programs that affect federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement officers.
1900 Start of effort to raise standards.
1953 “Model Police Training Act”
1967 President’s Commission on Law Enforcement recommended each state establish a POST Commission
1979 Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) established
1999 The U. S. Office of Management and Budget directed the federal law enforcement community to develop a process to improve federal law enforcement operations.
2002 The FLETA Board was established through the approval of a Memorandum of Understanding.
2005 The first accreditations were awarded to the Department of State and the U.S. Postal Service.
2014 FLETA completed the 200th FLETA assessment.
Currently, FLETA continues to grow.