(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser attended and observed the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Active Bystander for Law Enforcement (ABLE) training that is required for all MPD sworn members. For years, MPD has trained members on the requirement and duty to intervene. In 2021, as part of its annual professional development training, MPD formally adopted this new national best practice training program that prepares officers to successfully intervene to prevent harm and to create a law enforcement culture that supports peer intervention.
“As we do with any public servant, we expect, even in high-pressure situations, for the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department to act and react in ways that make our whole city proud. And that’s what they do in hundreds of interactions that they have with the public every day,” said Mayor Bowser. “That is why we invest in programs like this one – to make sure that no matter what happens, our officers have that muscle memory and that confidence to always do the right thing.”
The Georgetown Law Innovative Policing Program, partnering with global law firm Sheppard Mullin, created the ABLE training, which employs evidence-based practices to give officers the tools and skills they need to perform an intervention on a fellow officer, a subordinate, or even a superior officer. ABLE is unique and uses lessons from other industries like aviation, medicine, and college campuses.
“As Chief, it is my priority to offer avenues where our members can build upon their education in their career every day,” said Chief Robert J. Contee, III. “ABLE empowers all our members to have the confidence and ability to intervene before misconduct has the ability to occur or to step in before things are exacerbated thus, reducing discipline and career altering events.”
To implement this program, MPD agreed to the 10 key pillars of the ABLE program and was sponsored by two community organizations. Both organizations, the Anti-Defamation League and the United States Holocaust Museum Memorial, have had long-standing educational programming discussing active bystandership for over 20 years with all new officers.
To date, 1,396 MPD members have successfully completed the ABLE training and there are 13 certified ABLE instructors at MPD. Training will continue until all MPD personnel have received this important training.