HAYWARD -- The city's police department has been ranked among the nation's top 1 percent of law enforcement agencies.

The department was reaccredited after independent assessors spent several days in Hayward reviewing policies and procedures, interviewing city officials, residents and police employees, and riding along with officers, checking 500 standards.

"There is not one element of what we do as a law enforcement agency that is not intensely scrutinized," said police Chief Diane Urban.

The Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, considered the gold standard in public safety, only certifies 1 percent of law enforcement agencies in the U.S., said city spokesman Frank Holland. Hayward was certified in 2011 when Ron Ace was police chief, and Urban took over later that year. Recertification can be difficult when the head of the department changes, said Rob Sofie, the assessment team leader.

The independent assessors noted that the department has faced budget challenges, which also can make recertification tough. They praised the department's community outreach and data analysis.

"This is not an easy process," said Hassan Aden, a commission member.

"I've been around for many, many years as a team leader, and I can probably count on half of one hand the times I've seen these quality results," he said.

The department was awarded recertification after a hearing May 22 in Garden Grove.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment by our police department," said Mayor Michael Sweeney. "Being reaccredited by CALEA confirms the professionalism and standard of excellence throughout the organization."