July 6, 2021 – The Duncanville Police Department was recently 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 Duncanville Police Department joins a select group of more than 90 other law enforcement agencies and statewide and regional training academies from across the country.
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.
Interim Chief of Police Mark LiVigni said seeking inclusion to join the ABLE Project reflected important priorities for the Duncanville Police Department.
“As a professional and recognized public safety agency of the Texas Police Chief’s Best Practices Recognition Program, the Duncanville Police Department views the Active Bystander for Law Enforcement (ABLE) Program as making sense for our citizens, our personnel, and our city as a whole. It is a win for everyone as we all have an interest in our agency being able to provide the most ethical and responsible delivery of police services possible to our community while reducing harm to all stakeholders when possible.” said Chief LiVigni.
Those who endorsed the Duncanville Police Department’s application to join the program included Duncanville City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides, Duncanville Chamber of Commerce President Steve Martin, and First Presbyterian Church Reverend, Dr. Ginger Hertenstein, all of whom wrote letters of support.
Reverend Hertenstein stated in her letter of support of the department’s application, “This program would be congruent with the policies and culture of the Duncanville Police Department and its leadership.”
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.
- 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 participating agency must adhere.
- These articles share more information about active bystandership generally, and the ABLE Project in particular.
Certified Duncanville Police Department instructors will attend an ABLE Project Train-The-Trainer event in late July. At the conclusion of their training, they will be certified as ABLE trainers. In the following months, all officers of the Duncanville Police Department will receive 8 hours of evidence-based active bystandership education designed not only to prevent harm, but to change the culture of policing.
For more information regarding the Duncanville Police Department’s involvement in this transformative training endeavor, contact Alex Hamby, City of Duncanville Public Information Officer or Officer Doug Sisk, the Duncanville Police Department’s Public Information Officer.