Since April, more than 800 police officers from across the state have completed a special Active Bystander of Law Enforcement (ABLE) training at the Caruth Police Institute at the University of North Texas at Dallas.
“ABLE is more than a training. ABLE is an opportunity for a cultural shift within law enforcement,” Caruth Police Institute Executive Director BJ Wagner said. “Once the training is complete, we go further. We go into changing the culture of the department. So, departmentally, active bystandership to prevent misconduct, to prevent mistakes and to enhance wellness becomes part of the department’s life instead of just the training they are checking off the box.”
ABLE is described as a “peer-intervention program that provides practical skills and tactics to law-enforcement officers to prevent misconduct, reduce officer mistakes, and promote health and wellness.”
North Texas departments who have taken the training include Dallas, Denton, Irving and Rockwall.
Dallas City Council approved $300,000 to send officers to the training.
“Every department in America teaches our officers how to drive a car in a pursuit, how to operate a firearm well and safely, how to operate a taser well and safely. We teach them how to fill out incident reports and how to fill out computer automated dispatch notes,” Wagner said. “Teaching an officer how to be an active bystander to disrupt mistakes and misconduct is one of the most effective lessons we can teach. It’s more important than almost anything an officer can be doing because it ensures his safety and the safety of the community just as much as effectively operating a vehicle does.”