Clemson University Police Department (CUPD) has been selected to join 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 community partners and University leaders, CUPD joins a select group of 30 other law enforcement agencies and statewide and regional training academies chosen to participate in the ABLE Project’s national rollout.

A logo for the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement

Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) Project, Georgetown University Law Center’s national training and support initiative for U.S. law enforcement agencies.

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 individuals face when called upon to intervene in actions taken by their peers.

Clemson was one of the country’s first police agencies to focus on active bystandership for its officers, putting on a day-long training program for its officers in May 2019.

Jonathan Aronie, chair of the ABLE Project Board of Advisors and partner at the global law firm Sheppard Mullin LLP and the co-founder of the ABLE Project, has been impressed with CUPD’s commitment.

“We were excited to have the CUPD as an early contributor to the national conversation about active bystandership back in 2019, and we are even more excited to see Clemson as one of the first university police departments in the country to commit to the ABLE Project. We look forward to working with Chief (Gregory) Mullen to achieve his goal of establishing Clemson as a resource center for other university police departments across the country looking to follow Clemson’s lead.”

“This is a tremendous honor for CUPD to be selected to participate in the ABLE Project,” said Mullen, Clemson University’s associate vice president for public safety and chief of police. “This opportunity allows CUPD to take its commitment to active bystandship to the next level and reflects important priorities for the agency.”

“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,” said Christy Lopez, a professor and co-director of Georgetown’s Innovative Policing Program.

Over the coming weeks, two CUPD instructors will be certified as ABLE trainers; and over the coming months, all officers will receive eight hours of evidence-based active bystandership training designed not only to prevent harm, but to change the culture of policing. CUPD’s active bystander classes will also be open to our law enforcement partners in the region.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to continue our relationship in the active bystandership community by participating in the ABLE Project,” said CUPD Training Coordinator, Lt. Chris Harrington. “I feel strongly that the instruction, knowledge and skills learned through this process will have a direct impact on the health, wellness and safety of citizens, officers and our entire community.”

Executive Vice President for Finance and Operations Tony Wagner also acknowledged the importance of CUPD’s participation in the ABLE Project.

“I am proud of the vision and initiative that CUPD has demonstrated in many areas; however, their work and leadership in active bystandership is critical. This opportunity will allow them to continue their leadership role in expanding active bystandership training in the region.”

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