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Denver Police Department Joins National ABLE Project

Denver – September 29, 2020 – The Denver 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.

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 officer mistakes, and promote health and wellness. 

ABLE gives officers the tools to properly intervene when faced with inappropriate actions taken by their peers.

“For years, the Denver Police Department has required officers to intervene should they witness another officer using inappropriate force or mistreating an individual, and this training will ensure they have the skills to effectively navigate those types of situations and reduce the use of force,” said Denver Chief of Police Paul Pazen. “Our participation in the ABLE Project is an another example demonstrating our commitment to improving policing in Denver for the sake of our neighbors and our officers.”

By demonstrating agency commitment to transformational reform with support from local community groups and elected leaders, the Denver Police Department 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. To date, hundreds of agencies across the country have expressed interest in participating.

Those backing the department’s application to join the program included Together Colorado, the Greater Denver Ministerial Alliance, Independent Monitor Nicholas Mitchell and Executive Director of the Department of Safety Murphy Robinson, who wrote letters of support.

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 train-the-trainer event begins this week, during which Denver Police Department instructors will be certified as ABLE trainers.  Throughout the coming months, all DPD officers will receive eight hours of evidence-based active bystandership training.

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; Dr. Ervin Staub, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts at 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. 

· See the complete list of the ABLE Project Board of Advisors.

· For more information about the ABLE Project, visit the program’s website.

· See a list of the ABLE Standards to which every participant must adhere.

For more information on the ABLE Project, contact Tanya Weinberg, Director of Media Relations at Georgetown Law at tanya.weinberg@georgetown.edu or 202-577-7827.