Bystander training teaches IU police to prevent misconduct, promote well-being among fellow officers
IU Police Department is first among Indiana higher education institutions to require the training
For Immediate Release
Feb 27, 2023
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. —The Indiana University Police Department now requires all full-time officers on every campus to receive Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement training to prevent misconduct and mistakes, and to promote health and well-being among fellow officers. IU is the first higher education institution in the state to require the training for its law enforcement agency.
ABLE training, which is offered by the Georgetown Law Center for Innovations and Community Safety, focuses on peer intervention, preparing officers to step in to prevent harm to themselves and others. IUPD’s goal is to have every officer trained by August, and the first classes were held this month.
The IU Police Academy also includes ABLE training as part of its basic law enforcement curriculum, with tenets of the program reinforced with recruits throughout their training.
Led by Hannah Skibba, IUPD public information officer, and Claudia Darrow, an officer from IU Southeast, the training focused on educating participants on how they could become “courageous interveners.”
“When you recognize a situation where intervention is needed and you step in, it’s because you have respect for your fellow officer,” Skibba told the class. “The best person to help an officer is another officer.”
Many of the exercises involved self-reflection and discussion in small groups. Words like “family, fairness, care, love, integrity, respect and dependability” could be heard as the officers talked about their commitment to one another and their community. The class also considered case studies, working together to identify moments where officers could have stepped in to prevent harm.
Centered around ABLE’s three pillars — reduce mistakes, prevent misconduct, and promote health and wellness — the officers discussed the importance of reaching out for help when they need it and recognizing signs in their fellow officers in order to maintain a culture that supports peer intervention.
“As a leading law enforcement agency in the state and nationally, continued education and training are critical to the success of IUPD,” said Benjamin D. Hunter, IU associate vice president and superintendent for public safety. “We understand the importance of seeking out new, cutting-edge programs that will help us better serve our communities across the state. ABLE is just another tool that our officers use as they practice respectful, fair and impartial policing.”
Sgt. Randy Frye, who was among the first officers to receive the new training, said it was a good reminder of IUPD’s high expectations for those who serve.
“This is well worth the time, and may be more important than anyone realizes,” Frye said.
The IUPD also has two additional ABLE instructors leading courses for this initiative, Lt. Kimberly Minor and Sgt. Niko Natali both from IUPUI, with plans to add more in the coming months.