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City of Cleburne News

Posted on: July 12, 2021

Cleburne Police Department Joins National ABLE Project

The Cleburne Police Department has been accepted into the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) 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 a firm commitment to transformational reform with support from local community groups and elected leaders, Cleburne Police Department joins a select group of more than 115 other law enforcement agencies and statewide and regional training academies from across the country and in Canada.

Backed by prominent 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 mistakes, and promote health and wellness.

ABLE gives officers the tools they need to overcome the innate and powerful inhibitors all individuals face when called upon to intervene in actions taken by their peers.

“As we continue to participate in the national dialogue on 21st Century Policing, we are excited for the opportunity to implement Project ABLE with the Department and are committed to creating a culture of active bystandership and peer intervention through policy, training, support, and accountability," said Chief Rob Severance.

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 Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; Commissioner Danielle Outlaw of the Philadelphia Police Department; Dr. Ervin Staub, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the founder of the Psychology of Peace and Justice Program; and an impressive collection of other police leaders, rank and file officers, and social justice leaders.

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