Now more than ever, communities across the country, and the law enforcement agencies that serve those communities, are recognizing that first responders must do a better job intervening when necessary to prevent their colleagues from causing harm or making costly mistakes.
Years of academic research and on-the-ground experience has shown us that effective active bystandership can be taught. The Georgetown Innovative Policing Program, partnering with global law firm Sheppard Mullin, has created the ABLE* (Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement) Project to prepare officers to successfully intervene to prevent harm and to create a law enforcement culture that supports peer intervention.
The ABLE Project is a national hub for training, technical assistance, and research, all with the aim of creating a police culture in which officers routinely intervene as necessary to:
- Prevent misconduct
- Avoid police mistakes, and
- Promote officer health and wellness.
Building upon a training developed by Dr. Ervin Staub, the Founding Director of a program on the psychology of peace and violence, to help police officers stop unnecessary harmful behavior by fellow officers, in 2014, Dr. Staub, other consultants, and the New Orleans Police Department developed the EPIC (Ethical Policing Is Courageous) Peer Intervention Program. The ABLE Project builds upon EPIC and Dr. Staub’s prior work to develop and deliver practical, scenario-based training for police agencies in the strategies and tactics of police peer intervention. The ABLE Project guides agencies and communities on the concrete measures that must be in place to create and sustain a culture of peer intervention. The ABLE Project also provides a wide array of resources to communities and law enforcement agencies across the country interested in developing peer intervention programs of their own.
ABLE training will be provided at no cost to local law enforcement agencies, but those agencies must commit to creating a culture of active bystandership and peer intervention through policy, training, support, and accountability.
*ABLE Project, Project ABLE, ABLE, and Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement are trademarks of the President and Directors of Georgetown College.