Can Active Bystander Training Reduce Police Misconduct?

In light of recent events, police forces all over the United States are approaching officer training in new ways. They are taking the necessary action to ensure that excessive force is not taken when the officers are out protecting their communities.

One of the forms of training being instated is called active bystander training (ABT). This type of training will help officers assess aggressive situations and decide the best way to protect and serve.

In this article, you will find an explanation of what Active Bystander Training is and how it can help reduce police brutality.

What Is Active Bystander Training?

Active bystander training is a one-day class where officers spend time role-playing various scenarios where intervening may be necessary to avoid wrongful harm. An example of one of these scenarios is when an officer is out in the field and sees one of his colleagues using excessive force on a civilian. They will practice how to safely intervene and eliminate the possibility of unnecessary injury to either party.

The training also teaches officers how they can approach colleagues during office time if they seem to be distressed. Negative emotion affects the job immensely, and it is important that officers know they can rely on one another for support. The training offers a health and wellness approach, which instills that any officer’s mental health is a top priority.

The Active Bystandership Law Enforcement (ABLE) Project was created by Georgetown University’s national law enforcement training initiative. This initiative is committed to building a culture of peer intervention that prevents harm.

The training itself was built from the EPIC (Ethical Policing Is Courageous) Peer Intervention Program, originally created by Dr. Ervin Straub and the New Orleans Police Department. Dr. Straub is the founder and director of a program on the psychology of peace, which helps stop unnecessary force in officers.

“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.(Georgetown Law)

The officers will be trained on how to:

  • Prevent misconduct
  • Take responsibility
  • Avoid police mistakes
  • Safely intervene
  • Promote officer wellness

How Can Active Bystander Training Reduce Police Misconduct?

The universal police officer motto is to “protect and serve,” and this training helps to solidify that commitment. The intervention training that comes with active bystander training will instill responsibility in officers. It will become their duty to check on their peers and ensure that excessive force or misconduct is not happening. It will be a part of their service to the communities they protect.

Because of that responsibility, officers will not hesitate to intervene when their colleagues are behaving out of line.

Three officers watched Derek Chauvin kneel on George Floyd’s neck on May 25, 2020. Since that day, Chauvin has been convicted of murder and the three witnesses were charged with aiding and abetting. By providing officers active bystander training, situations like that can be prevented.

Count on The Umansky Law Firm for Quality Legal Representation

Here at Umansky Law Firm, we are proud to say that our very own Orlando Police Department is one of 60 departments accepted into the Active Bystandership Law Enforcement Project. They will be practicing this training and learning to find compassion among themselves and fight to create a supportive environment.

By doing so, they are committed to building a culture of peer intervention that prevents harm. It is our hope that more departments undergo this training and encourage reducing the rate of unnecessary harm exponentially.

With over 100 years of combined experience fighting injustice, the Umansky Law Firm is here to help with cases pertaining to the active bystander training initiative. To get started on your path to justice, fill out our contact form or call us at (407) 228-3838.