After years of waiting, the Pleasantville Police Department has officially received accreditation.
"It's a very big deal," said Chief Jose Ruiz. He explained, "It's a long process but it's a process that elevates us to a more professional level." Captain Rocky Melendez added, "It just makes it a more proficient and efficient police department."
Captain Melendez was acknowledged by the Pleasantville city council for his work in bringing the accreditation to the force. Melendez said, "Well, tonight's series of events were a great step forward for our police department."
The state accreditation comes from The New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, and the national accreditation comes from CALEA.
Police officials say that with the state and national recognition, the agency is now on par with other accredited departments across the nation that follow strict, but proven procedural guidelines.
Captain Melendez told NBC40, "You can go from here to the west coast and if you have a police department that is accredited on the west coast, our methods of operation will be very similar."
The mayor of Pleasantville and the chief of police hope the accreditation leads to additional funding from sources in Atlantic City; to help fight crimes they feel are linked to the two cities.
Mayor, Jesse Tweedle, said, "So, the crimes that are in Atlantic City are associated with the crimes in Pleasantville...so we feel that we should be a part of that revenue resource - that's why we want to approach them to let them know that we are for real and we have more credibility now than we ever had before."
City council also recognized the promotion of three Pleasantville police officers. "It just makes everyone proud throughout the city and through this administration and for the city and the council as well," explained Mayor Tweedle.
Pleasantville police officials say they will travel to Charleston South Carolina this weekend where they will set goals for their department with the CALEA board members, and in a few weeks they will receive the official stamp of accreditation and approval.