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Police Departments Across Country Embrace Active Bystandership to Prevent Harm

Sheppard Mullin and Georgetown University Law Center’s Innovative Policing Program Select First Group of Agencies to Join ABLE Project

Amidst high demand, Georgetown University Law Center’s Innovative Policing Program, in collaboration with Sheppard Mullin, has selected the first 34 agencies to join the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) Project, a national training and support initiative focused on U.S. law enforcement agencies committed to building a culture of peer intervention that prevents harm.

Backed by prominent civil rights and law enforcement leaders, the evidence-based ABLE Project was developed by Georgetown Law’s Innovative Policing Program in collaboration with Sheppard Mullin, pioneering active bystandership scholar Ervin Staub, and a host of other experts to provide law enforcement officers and agencies with practical active bystandership strategies and tactics to prevent misconduct, reduce officer mistakes, and promote health and wellness. Building upon decades of research and on-the-ground testing, ABLE ensures officers have both the training and the supportive institutional culture they need to overcome the powerful inhibitors individuals face when called upon to intervene in actions taken by their peers.

To be accepted into the ABLE Project, agencies must commit to 10 ABLE standards that demonstrate commitment to creating a culture of active bystandership, as well as support from local community groups and elected leaders. The first 34 agencies to be selected stretch across 21 states and Canada and include major city police departments in Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Philadelphia, and the statewide training academies for New Hampshire and Washington State.

Hundreds of agencies across the country have expressed interest in participating in ABLE to date, and new applications will be considered on a rolling basis when submitted through the ABLE website with the accompanying letters of support. This additional training is made possible in part by significant new financial support from two major corporations: Mastercard and Verizon. Mastercard announced in June that police reform and criminal justice reform are key to its In Solidarity initiative combating systemic racism and advancing equal opportunity for all, and  Verizon has advocated for reform of the criminal legal system for nearly two years, focusing on a variety of issues.  

Read more in Georgetown University Law Center’s press release here.


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