Sarasota Police Department becoming only sixth agency in state to implement Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement program

Training was to begin on Aug. 29

Chief Rex Troche. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The Sarasota Police Department is becoming one of just six agencies in the state of Florida to implement the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) program, which is designed to prevent misconduct, prevent officer mistakes, “and promote officer health and safety,” the department has announced.

The ABLE Project was developed through a partnership of the Georgetown Law Center for Innovations in Community Policing and the Sheppard Mullin Law Firm, a news release explains. It builds on research undertaken by Ervin Staub, founding director of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Psychology of Peace and Violence Program, the release adds.

“ABLE training not only empowers police officers to prevent harmful behaviors,” the release says, but it also provides them support to improve their personal health and wellness, and it “creates a culture that supports peer intervention.”

“Having officers trained in ABLE techniques” enables them to be better suited to protect residents in the city of Sarasota, the release continues.

The first of several ABLE training sessions was scheduled for Aug. 29, the release says. “Community leaders are already showing support for this initiative, with the Sarasota Police Department receiving endorsements from the Sarasota chapter of the NAACP and the Light of the World Church,” the release points out.

ABLE Training helps officers in the following specific ways, the release notes:

  • They learn to recognize common triggers in the field so they can stop any action that violates a law or policy.
  • They gain the tools and confidence to intervene when they see someone making a potentially dangerous mistake.
  • They develop daily wellness activities after learning to recognize the importance of maintaining physical and mental health, which are necessary “for successful on-job performance and healthy off-duty work/life balance.”

“Through ABLE training, our officers are not only preventing misconduct and mistakes but also cultivating a culture of vigilance for one another’s well-being,” said Sarasota Police Chief Rex Troche in the release. “This program empowers us to serve our community with enhanced safety and accountability.”

In the United States, 330 law enforcement agencies have implemented ABLE, the release points out. More than 2,200 persons have become certified ABLE instructors.