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For Immediate Release




The St. Louis 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 agency commitment to transformational reform with support from local community groups and elected leaders, the St. Louis County Police Department joins a select group of more than 60 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.

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 they need to overcome the innate and powerful inhibitors all individuals face when called upon to intervene in actions taken by their peers.

“Our Department’s acceptance into the ABLE project is a positive step forward in engaging our community partners in matters affecting the delivery of police services,” Chief Mary T. Barton said.  “This training emphasizes the importance of proper and effective response strategies both in the community and internally within the Department.  Highly trained officers, given practical guidance and usable strategies, engaging in positive interactions is the next step in the process of increasing the community’s trust.”


Those backing the St. Louis County Police Department’s application to join the program included St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Inc., and the Missionary Baptist State Convention of Missouri. Each wrote letters of support.

“I wholeheartedly recommend them for your innovative program to teach and prepare police officers to use tried and true strategies and tactics of active bystandership to keep themselves and our communities safe,” said Michael McMillan, President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Inc.

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 Vanita Gupta, the president of the Leadership Conference 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 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. 

For more information on the ABLE Project, contact Liza, ABLE Program Manager, at [email protected].




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