Clemson University Police to undergo active bystander intervention training

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CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) – The Clemson University Police Department is participating in a national training program to promote bystander intervention among law enforcement officers, the Georgetown University Law Center’s Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) project.

The Clemson University Police Department is one of the first agencies in the country to participate.

“It really talks about peer intervention and how you you can actually teach officers skills that will allow them to intervene in situations that could result in tragedy or it could result in another officer making a bad decision,” said Gregory Mullen, who is Clemson University’s associate vice president for public safety and chief of police.

The aim of ABLE is to create a culture in which officers intervene to prevent misconduct, avoid police mistakes, and promote officer health and wellness.

“We wanted to create that culture where our officers felt comfortable stepping in and stopping a co-worker,” Mullen said.

ABLE training provides tools on how to do that in an eight hour course that includes classroom learning and role playing.

Lt. Chris Harrington will be leading the training for the Clemson University Police Department.

“Active bystandership isn’t something that’s just designed for the most serious of events you know, where you’ve got say an excessive force type of circumstances are developing or taking place currently,” Harrington said.

For example, he said the training would empower a rookie to take over for a veteran officer during a traffic stop if they’re speaking to someone unprofessionally. The program also encourages officers to intervene when a co-worker isn’t doing well personally to make sure they have the support they need.

Lt. Harrington said the training will begin virtually in December.

Clemson Police hope to be able to spread this training to other local law enforcement agencies in the Upstate and southeast.

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