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Anne Arundel County Police Department Joins National ABLE Project

Millersville, MD – The Anne Arundel County 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, the Anne Arundel County 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.

Anne Arundel County Police Chief Amal Awad said seeking inclusion to join the ABLE Project reflected important priorities for the Anne Arundel County Police Department.

The Anne Arundel County Police Department is excited to partner with Georgetown University Law Center’s Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) Project”, said Chief Awad. “It is our privilege to join this cohort of progressive, 21st century policing professionals. This contemporary training opportunity further complements our commitment toward providing exemplary service to our community-at-large while creating opportunities for our officers to achieve healthy and successful outcomes.”

Those backing the agency’s application to join the program included Anne Arundel County Executive Mr. Steuart Pittman, Ms. Jaqueline Boone Allsup, President, Anne Arundel County Branch NAACP, Mr. Carl Snowden, Convener, Caucus of African American Leaders, and Bishop Antonio Palmer, First Vice President, United Black Clergy of Anne Arundel County and Mr. Ron Wayne, President of the Anne Arundel County Police Community Relations Council 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 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. 

ABLE Project Train-The-Trainer events take place every month. By July 2, 2021, Anne Arundel County Police instructors will be certified as ABLE trainers; and over the coming months, all of the Department’s officers will receive 8 hours of evidence-based active bystandership education designed not only to prevent harm, but to change the culture of policing. Please follow our progress in this critical area at twitter.com/aacopd and facebook.com/aacopd.

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