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Take a second look around before you jaywalk this week.

There are 685 more law enforcement officials downtown than usual. Agencies from as far as Honolulu and Barbados are participating in the national summer conference for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA, in the Buffalo Convention Center.

"And not a single complaint about the weather," said city Police Capt. Pat Mann, head of the host committee for the group's first conference here in almost 10 years. "There are some people who came in '95, and they're happy the conference is back in Buffalo."

About 70 city, state and federal agencies -- from sheriff's departments to parks police to dispatch services -- are attending the conference's workshops and sessions. CALEA will address accreditation (akin to the process a university or hospital would go through), as well as contemporary law enforcement issues.

The accreditation process, while not mandatory to maintain a department, is beneficial for agencies and their respective communities, said Syl Daughtry, executive director of CALEA, which is based in Fairfax, Va. Departments are educated on law enforcement standards and how to comply and uphold those standards.

"Yes, it's voluntary," said Daughtry, who sat in on a session about the U.S. Consulate and dealing with foreign nationals. "But your community and agency benefits greatly from this."

In addition to the Buffalo Police Department, which has not undergone the accreditation process, other area agencies co-hosting the conference are the Erie County Sheriff's Department, the Regional Policing Center of the University at Buffalo and the Canadian Pacific Railway Police.

The conference, which concludes Saturday, includes workshops such as "Developing a Curriculum to Address Racial Profiling," "Terrorism Interdiction Through Routine Patrols" and "Weapons of Mass Destruction Protective Measures."

Genevieve Rak, a Buffalo officer and chairwoman of the hospitality committee, wore a neon sign taped to her back touting tonight's four-hour party for CALEA participants at the Pier, with open bar, food and live music for $30.

Other social events include Bisons games, forays onto Chippewa Street and trips to Niagara Falls.

"We're trying to showcase the city," Rak said. "We're doing everything we can to make sure their stay is enjoyable."


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