The University of Mary Washington Police Department was recently recognized for its overall professionalism and for the notable work of its leader, Chief Michael Hall.
This month the department was reaccredited for four more years by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission (VLEPSC), which assesses agency operations for efficiency and effectiveness.
And Hall, the University’s chief law enforcement officer, has been named to the executive board of the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (VACLEA). That’s the organization of police and public safety agencies primarily responsible for the safety and security of Virginia colleges and universities.
Accreditation is a labor-intensive undertaking that considers a department’s administration, operations, personnel, and training. Independent auditors consider departments’ adherence to about 190 standards recognized as best practices.
The voluntary process enhances the quality of service and credibility of law enforcement agencies and fosters openness and trust in the community. Accreditation “just reiterates our commitment to the University community to be a very transparent and professional organization,” Hall said.
He credits UMW administrators with supporting the process and especially praised the efforts of UMW Police Lt. Bill Gill, who helped oversee both the department’s initial accreditation in 2018 and its reaccreditation this year.
“That has been his signature – overseeing that whole process” while also handling other duties, Hall said.
Though the official reaccreditation happens only every four years, Hall said, the process is a cycle that requires regular attention from Gill and other officers in the department who compile and enter the data accreditors ultimately review.
UMW is among about 100 departments statewide accredited by VLEPSC, but only five are college or university departments, according to Gill. Two other Virginia higher education police departments are accredited by a national accreditation commission that uses similar standards.
Accreditation is just one way the department signals that it is a collaborative part of the University, working with students, faculty, staff and the community, Hall said. Officers take 40 hours of crisis intervention training, he said, and the department continues to make a conscious effort to reflect the diversity of the UMW campus in its ranks. The department also counts on members of the community to ensure safety on campus, Hall said.
Hall, who has led the UMW Police Department since 2014, now serves on the executive board of VACLEA, whose mission includes professional training, education, legislative initiatives, advocacy, supporting best practices, honoring outstanding service, securing resources, and responding to emerging needs.
It’s no surprise that the chief is recognized in the organization of his peers, said Vice President for Student Affairs Juliette Landphair. “As UMW’s chief law enforcement officer, Chief Hall is well known around campus for his friendliness, accessibility and enthusiastic support of our institutional mission.”
Before becoming UMW’s top law enforcement officer, Hall rose through the ranks of campus department, which he joined in 2009 after serving in various municipalities. He has 38 years’ experience in law enforcement.
Collectively, the UMW Police Department’s 12 full-time police officers have 227 years of law enforcement experience.