Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office Joins National ABLE Project

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Sheriff Craig Webre announced the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office has been accepted into the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) Project. The ABLE Project is 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 the agency’s commitment to transformational reform, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office joins a select group of approximately 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.

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. 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.

Sheriff Webre said seeking inclusion to join the ABLE Project reflected important priorities of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“As Sheriff, it is my responsibility to ensure our deputies are maintaining the highest possible levels of professional service and using proven best practices in all areas,” said Sheriff Webre. “As a nationally accredited law enforcement agency, we have policies for deputies to intervene when they witness inappropriate actions by another deputy. By participating in the ABLE project, we will take that a step further by providing intervention training to all current deputies and to any new recruits who join our agency.”

Those backing the sheriff’s office application to join the program included Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson III, Burnell Tolbert of the Lafourche Chapter of the NAACP, and Bishop Herbert K. Andrew of Beacon Light Baptist Church of Houma. Each wrote letters in support of LPSO’s participation in the project.

“As a former reserve deputy with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, I can attest first-hand that this agency is committed to excellence at every level,” said Parish President Chaisson. “Their proactive approach to policing and awareness of the needs of our community is what helps them maintain a positive rapport with our citizens.”

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.”

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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.

The ABLE Project Train-The-Trainer event begins in December.  By the end of the month, LPSO instructors will be certified as ABLE trainers. Over the coming months, all LPSO deputies will receive eight hours of evidence-based active bystandership education designed not only to prevent harm, but to change the culture of policing.

For more information on the ABLE Project, visit the program’s website.

Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office Joins National ABLE Project