Allentown Police Department Joins National ABLE Project

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September 30, 2020 – The Allentown Police Department has been accepted into 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 local community groups and elected leaders, the Allentown Police Department 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. 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.

Allentown Police Chief Glenn Granitz Jr. said the decision to apply for inclusion in the ABLE Project reflects important priorities for the department. “Allentown Police Department officers and the community are always looking for new and meaningful training opportunities. We are currently training in these areas, however being one of the first agencies in the country to be selected for this program is testament to the commitment of our men and women to policing with our community in Allentown.”

A number of Allentown officers will personally attend training in Washington.  That group will then train the rest of the department next year.

APD’s application to join the program was supported Mayor Ray O’Connell, The West Park Civic Association, The Riverfront Wards Association (covering the City’s 1st & 6th Wards) and The Fairview Neighborhood Crime Watch as well as members of the local faith community. All submitted letters of support after learning about this planned initiative. Additionally, police administrators provided a presentation of the program to the Human Relations Commission prior to the application being submitted.

“APD has been working hard to build relationships with residents across the city,” said O’Connell.  “The ABLE Project has a good reputation and our officers stand to learn a great deal which can be used to strengthen those relationships we are striving to build.”

Professor Christy Lopez, co-director of Georgetown Law’s Innovative Policing Program, which runs ABLE, explained: “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.”

Chair of the ABLE Project Board of Advisors, Sheppard Mullin partner Jonathan Aronie, added: “Intervening in another’s action is harder than it looks after the fact, but it’s a skill we all can learn.  And, frankly, it’s a skill we all need – police and non-police.  ABLE teaches that skill.”

The ABLE Project is guided by a Board of Advisors comprised of civil rights, social justice, and law enforcement leaders, including Vanita Gupta, the president of the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; Commissioner Danielle Outlaw of the Philadelphia Police Department; Dr. Ervin Staub, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the founder of the Psychology of Peace and Justice Program; and an impressive collection of other police leaders, rank and file officers, and social justice leaders.

The ABLE Project Train-The-Trainer event begins next month.  Over the coming weeks the program will follow with evidence-based active bystandership training designed not only to prevent harm, but to change the culture of policing.  We invite you to follow our progress in this critical area at https://www.facebook.com/allentownpolice . 

For more information regarding the Allentown Police Department, contact Chief Glenn Granitz Jr. at Glenn.Granitz@allentownpa.gov or 610-437-7777.

For more information on the ABLE Project, contact Tanya Weinberg, Director of Media Relations at Georgetown Law at tanya.weinberg@georgetown.edu or 202-577-7827.

Information provided to TVL by:
Mike Moore
Communications Manager
Mayor’s Office
435 Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18101
Mike.Moore@allentownpa.gov
http://www.AllentownPA.gov