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Police Department Seeking Additional Training Certification

The Brenham Police Department is seeking certification and acceptance into the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement Project. Known as the ABLE Project, it is a national training and support initiative for U.S. law enforcement agencies committed to building a culture of peer intervention that prevents harm to citizens.

Brenham Police Department will partner with Georgetown University in Washington D.C. to provide the training for all commissioned police officers, of all ranks, within the department.

The BPD will join a select group of only approximately 70 other law enforcement agencies and statewide and regional training academies from across the nation that have made a firm commitment to transformational reform with support from local community groups and elected leaders.

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.

“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,” explained Professor Christy Lopez, co-director of Georgetown Law’s Innovative Policing Program.

ABLE will provide the officers with the tools they need to overcome the instinctive and powerful inhibitors individuals face when called upon to intervene in actions taken by their peers.
“Intervening in another police officer’s action is harder than it looks after the fact, but it’s a skill we all can learn,” said Sheppard Mullin partner Jonathan Aronie, chair of the ABLE Project Board of Advisors. And, frankly, it’s a skill we all need – police and non-police. ABLE teaches that skill.”

Brenham City Manager James Fisher is a supporter of the efforts and signed a letter stating his backing of the BPD in this endeavor.  Brenham Police Chief Ron Parker also stated it is his desire to make the BPD one the most highly professional and trained law enforcement agencies in the state. “Giving our police officers the right tools and training to serve the public is my responsibility. This is one of those elements that will help our officers to be more successful and to help them avoid misconduct and actions that we have all seen in the news. BPD is committed to respecting the Constitutional Rights of every individual. We are sincere in our mission to be transparent and to hold ourselves accountable for our actions.  Another major component to this effort was the recent formation of a Citizens’ Advisory Board to the police department and Chief Parker. BPD is also reviewing their entire policy manual and will soon make their department policies accessible to the public via the internet, to foster greater transparency.

Those backing the BPD’s application to join the program included Faith Mission and Help Center’s Executive Director Randy Wells, Brenham Next’s President Marcus Lawhon on behalf of their board of directors, and Brenham City Manager James Fisher.

Chief Parker stated, “ABLE will increase the Brenham Police Department’s incorporation of 21st Century Policing and serve to strengthen the bond between underserved communities and local law enforcement”.
Once BPD’s application is accepted, program success for the BPD will be defined by one year of comparison data in the following areas:

  • Officers trained by the 180-day benchmark.
  • Officer attitudes and impressions as measured by the ABLE pre- and post- training survey tool.
  • Use of force rates.
  • Officer grievances.
  • Officer wellness markers – attendance, tardiness, and sick leave.
  • Community complaints.
The ABLE project is guided by a board of advisors comprised of civil rights, social justice, and law enforcement leaders, and an impressive collection of other police leaders, rank and file officers and social justice leaders.