The Common Council on Tuesday night authorized the Oneonta Police Department to seek accreditation from the state Division of Criminal Justice.
The state's accreditation program has 132 standards in the categories of administration, training and operations. Mayor Dick Miller said the process did not require any city expense, except for some personnel hours and possibly travel for training.
A motion to approve the process was included in the consent agenda, which allows for uncontroversial and routine motions to be voted on en masse. Seventh Ward Alderman Liz Shannon requested it be removed for discussion.
"We didn't talk about it in the Board of Public Safety," Shannon said.
The board, which consists of all eight aldermen, met before the Common Council meeting.
Third Ward Alderman Erik Miller said it had been discussed at earlier board meetings, and the mayor said police Chief Gary O'Neill has promoted it as a way to enhance the department.
"Chief O'Neill brought the subject up in his reports," the mayor said.
He added that the chief, who is expected to continue in his interim role until at least the spring, sees accreditation as the next step in improving the police department. O'Neill replaced former Chief Joseph Redmond, who retired in the midst of investigations into a police brutality allegation.
Shannon attempted to table the motion but received no support.
"We talked about this in detail," Fourth Ward Alderman Mike Lynch said. "I don't see the downside to doing this. I think it puts a spotlight on the department."
O'Neill would oversee the accreditation process, which has specific goals and procedures set forth by the Division of Criminal Justice.
The motion to pursue accreditation was passed by a 6-0 voted. Fifth Ward Alderman Madolyn Palmer and Second Ward Alderman Paul Robinson were absent.