DEARBORN – The Police Department has been accepted into the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement Project, Georgetown University Law Center’s national training and support initiative for U.S. law enforcement agencies committed to building a culture of peer intervention that prevents harm.
By demonstrating agency commitment to transformational reform with support from local community groups and elected leaders, the department joins a group of 30 other law enforcement agencies and statewide and regional training academies chosen to participate in the ABLE Project’s national rollout. To date, hundreds of agencies across the country have expressed interest in participating.
Backed by civil rights and law enforcement leaders, the evidence-based, field-tested ABLE Project was developed by Georgetown Law’s Innovative Policing Program in collaboration with global law firm Sheppard Mullin LLP to provide practical active bystandership strategies and tactics to law enforcement officers to prevent misconduct, reduce officer mistakes, and promote health and wellness.
ABLE gives officers the tools they need to overcome the innate and powerful inhibitors individuals face when called upon to intervene in actions taken by their peers.
Police Chief Ronald Haddad said seeking inclusion to join the ABLE Project reflected important priorities for the department.
“The Dearborn Police Department is committed to implementing policies and measures that are in line with national best-practices in policing,” Haddad said. “By partnering with Georgetown University and the ABLE Project we will continue to be transparent and progressive in our quest to provide our citizens with the service and respect they deserve.”
Professor Christy Lopez, co-director of Georgetown Law’s Innovative Policing Program, which runs ABLE, explained: “The ABLE Project seeks to ensure every police officer in the United States has the opportunity to receive meaningful, effective active bystandership training, and to help agencies transform their approach to policing by building a culture that supports and sustains successful peer intervention to prevent harm.”
Chair of the ABLE Project Board of Advisors, Sheppard Mullin partner Jonathan Aronie, added: “Intervening in another’s action is harder than it looks after the fact, but it’s a skill we all can learn. And, frankly, it’s a skill we all need – police and non-police. ABLE teaches that skill.”
The ABLE Project is guided by a board of advisors comprised of civil rights, social justice, and law enforcement leaders, including Vanita Gupta, the president of the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; Commissioner Danielle Outlaw of the Philadelphia Police Department; Ervin Staub, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the founder of the Psychology of Peace and Justice Program; and other police leaders, rank and file officers, and social justice leaders.
The ABLE Project Train-The-Trainer event begins later this month. Over the coming weeks, Dearborn police instructors will be certified as ABLE trainers; and over the coming months, all our officers will receive eight hours of evidence-based active bystandership training designed not only to prevent harm, but to change the culture of policing.
The public may follow progress at https://cityofdearborn.org/government/departments/police.