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Posted on: May 3, 2021

Lawrence Police Joins National ABLE Project

           ABEL COMBO                                                                                                  

Chief Roy Vasque is pleased to announce that the Lawrence 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. Lawrence is the first Department in the Commonwealth to take part in this program.

“The Lawrence Police Department is committed to enhancing the training that our men and women receive to ensure that our Officers are in the best in position to serve our City. Obviously being selected to participate in the ABLE Project allows us to continue towards that goal and strengthens the foundation of our Department. It is expectation that our officers will intervene and help fellow officer de-escalate any interaction with the public before a situation becomes volatile, which is in-line with our current Duty to Intervene Policy. ABLE is just another way to teach officers invaluable skills.  This training will be the norm for the entire Department,” noted Chief Roy Vasque. “We are honored to be selected to participate.”  

By demonstrating our Department’s commitment to transformational reform with support from local community groups and elected leaders, Lawrence joins a select group of more than 60 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 the 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 all individuals face when called upon to intervene in actions taken by their peers.

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 Conference 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 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.  

  • See the complete list of the ABLE Project Board of Advisors.

  • For more information about the ABLE Project, visit the program’s website.

  • See a list of the ABLE Standards to which every participating agency must adhere.

  • These articles share more information about active bystandership generally, and the ABLE Project in particular.


Two members of the Department have completed and have been certified in ABLE Project’s Train-The-Trainer Program. By June 30th, all of the Department’s officers will be certified in the evidence-based active bystandership education designed not only to prevent harm, but to change the culture of policing. Please follow the progress in this critical area on Twitter at @lawrencepolice or on our Facebook page, Lawrence Police Department MA. 


For more information regarding the Lawrence Police Department, contact Detective Thomas Cuddy Public Information Officer, at

For more information on the ABLE Project, contact Liza, ABLE Program Manager, at 



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