The Denton Police Department announced recently that it 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.
ABLE was developed to provide practical active bystandership strategies and tactics to law enforcement officers to prevent misconduct, reduce officer mistakes and promote health and wellness, according to a DPD news release. By demonstrating agency commitment to transformational reform with support from local community groups and leaders, Denton PD joins a select group of 30 other law enforcement agencies and statewide and regional training academies chosen to participate in the ABLE Project’s national rollout. Hundreds of agencies across the country have expressed interest in participating.
Police Chief Frank Dixon said seeking inclusion to join the ABLE Project reflected important priorities for the Denton Police Department.
“It is an honor to have been selected to participate in the ABLE Project, and we are excited and humbled by our community’s partnership and support,” Dixon said.
Those backing the Denton Police Department’s application to join the program included Denton City Manager Todd Hileman, Pastor Cedric Chambers of the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church and president of the Denton and Vicinity Ministerial Alliance, and Pamela Gutierrez, executive director of the Denton County MHMR Center, who wrote letters of support.
“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,” said Professor Christy Lopez, co-director of Georgetown Law’s Innovative Policing Program, which runs ABLE.
Over the coming weeks, Denton Police Department instructors will be certified as ABLE trainers. In the coming months, all Denton PD 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 department said.