Research shows that after receiving bystander training, police officers are more likely to intervene in situations where other officers are participating in unethical practices, according to the National Police Foundation.
Flashback: On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd on suspicion that he was using a counterfeit bill.
- Video footage revealed that a former officer, Derek Chauvin, had kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes. Floyd was found unconscious and later pronounced dead.
- In 2021, Chauvin was found guilty on three charges of murder and was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison, according to The New York Times.
What police are doing now: Bystander intervention training has been around for quite some time, but after Floyd’s death, interest in the training spiked dramatically in police departments around the country, according to the FBI’s Law Enforcement Bulletin.
Active bystandership is “the art and science of intervening in another’s actions,” as defined by the Law Enforcement Bulletin.
Training has been given through the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) project, which is a resource for police departments across the nation with the goal teaching officers to intervene as necessary to:
- Prevent misconduct.
- Avoid police mistakes.
- Promote officer health and wellness.
ABLE training is provided to any law enforcement agency around the country free of cost, according to Georgetown Law.
- Since Floyd’s death, over 200 law enforcement agencies nationwide have adopted the ABLE project, reports The New York Times.
The Baltimore Police Department has also implemented the Ethical Policing Is Courageous (EPIC) peer intervention program, committed to breaking the “blue wall of silence,” according to the Baltimore Police Department.
Is it working? A study done by the National Police Foundation showed that out of 1,753 officers who completed EPIC training, 86% of them indicated that they felt more confident in intervening with their peers in a difficult situation.