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IMPD undergoing new training to improve accountability, transparency

“We care and we want to be the police department the community is asking for”
IMPD car
Posted at 11:30 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 23:32:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS — It has been nearly two years in the making, and now, the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement or ABLE, program is a new tool for Indianapolis metro police officers.

"[The ABLE program] teaches officers what it means to intervene. It teaches officers how to intervene and makes it — what I hope is okay — for officers to intervene with one another,” said Catherine Cummings, IMPD deputy chief of training, policy and oversight.

"I hope that it just gives our officers one more tool to help work with the community (and) to help relate to the community,” she said.

The department started pursuing the program out of Georgetown Law in the fall of 2020. It came not long after an addition to the department's policy mandating officers to intervene if improper use of force is suspected.

"When we put it into policy, it is the responsibility of the department to then give officers the tools to follow that policy,” Cummings said.

Cummings said the idea was a part of the agency's culture for years, but the ABLE program formalized it.

“This is the perfect example of showing that we were listening to the community in 2020. We were looking for solutions, we altered our policies and we looked for those tools to give to our officers,” Cummings said.

After being accepted into the program and several trainers went through the program, command staff and supervisors went through the training last fall. Training for patrol officers is ongoing.

"It lasted about nine hours almost. It was scenario-based. We were able to interact with other officers,” IMPD Officer William Young said, who participated in the initial in-person training Tuesday.

ABLE training not only focuses on intervening in a case of police misconduct but also on officer wellness.

"I believe with this training, it also helps when those officers go home with their own families and even vice versa when they’re out, taking those calls for service or out dealing with the community,” Young said.

On Monday, IMPD Chief Randal Taylor told WRTV the training played a part in the checks and balances of an officer coming forward to report a fellow officer Travis Lewis after a February arrest. After an investigation, Lewis is facing several charges including a felony.

The entire department is expected to be trained by the end of April. Annually, officers in the department will go through additional training. Recruit classes will also go through ABLE.

"I hope it shows the community and shows Indianapolis, we care and we want to be the police department the community is asking for," Cummings said.