New Hampshire law enforcement are receiving training on how to intervene with peers if they see them behaving inappropriately on the job.
The new peer-to-peer intervention training program is called Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement(ABLE) and is available at no cost to departments that are willing to “commit to creating a culture of active bystandership and peer intervention through policy, training, support, and accountability.” So far, more than 215 agencies and state and regional training academies across North America have joined in.
ABLE was developed by Georgetown Law’s Center for Innovations in Community Safety with the aim of “preventing misconduct, avoiding police mistakes and promoting a culture of health and wellness,” according to the program’s website.
Eddie Edwards, New Hampshire’s assistant commissioner of the Department of Safety, said the program is intended to enhance officer responsibility in averting harm.
“It’s the first program that really emphasizes peer-to-peer accountability,” he told WMUR 9.
The program will give officers the tools needed to intervene in fellow officers’ conduct.
“This program has improvements for making sure that we have that accountability built in peer-to-peer, and there’s nothing wrong with increasing that and encouraging that activity,” Edwards said.
Law enforcement from multiple public safety agencies will receive the training.
“This is going to be an ongoing event, because we’re going to train our troopers, our fire marshals, as well as marine patrol,” Edwards said.
Thus far, 11 state troopers have completed the training, and those designated instructors will now be tasked with training their fellow troopers. New Hampshire State Police Captain Brendan Davey, who oversees the program, said it should prove helpful in teaching officers a range of methods to intervene.
“The ways that we do that can be as subtle as, ‘Hey, sir, let me help you with that,’ or it could be some other and more direct approach,” Davey said. “It could be holding someone back. It could be pulling someone off.”
Davey hopes the program will also build trust with members of the public.
“To know that we are pursuing a set of actual utilizable skills to make sure that on my worst day, I don’t do harm with the authority I wield,” Davey said. “I would hope that would be valuable to the public.”
The State Police training is expected to ramp up toward the end of 2022, with the objective of training all troopers within a year.
“New Hampshire law enforcement remains the gold standard across the country, and this is another step in the right direction as the state works to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” Governor Chris Sununu said in a Department of Safety press release.