The purpose of this paper is to examine how the adoption of state accreditation has diffused or spread among Florida municipal police law enforcement agencies.
The study group consists of all municipal police departments operating continuously in the State of Florida from 1997 through 2006. Independent variables are taken from an annual survey, sponsored by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, to compare agencies that became accredited (n=81) with agencies that did not gain state accreditation (n=189).
While accredited agencies differ from non‐accredited agencies on a host of indicators at the zero‐order, it does not appear that the state accreditation process itself is responsible for nurturing organizational change. Having received national accreditation is an important predictor of gaining state accreditation.
Instead of looking at organizational details, future researchers might wish to conceive of accreditation as a credentialing process and concentrate on characteristics of agency leaders, especially those who are seeking upward mobility in their professional careers.
State accreditation status has reached only a small portion of the intended audience and appears to have morphed into a credential rather than an actual tool for meaningful reform.
This paper informs accreditation oversight bodies as to who their self‐selected constituents tend to be and which members of the target audience are not being reached.
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