New Orleans Program Teaches Officers to Police One Another
Article by Campbell Robertson in The New York Times about the training program developed by the New Orleans Police Department to encourage members of the police to intervene in response to inappropriate behavior or reaction of their peers (read full print).
In this time of often high tension between police and communities a new program has emerged that has great potential for benefitting both police and citizens. It is based on the all-important work on bystanders done by professor Ervin Staub of the University of Massachussetts.
As a survivor of the Nazi holocaust professor Staub knows first-hand the difference that intervention or passivity by bystanders makes. What is novel about the program being conducted in New Orleans is the training of police themselves to intervene to de-escalate reactions by their fellow police officers to volatile events. The program correctly identifies that it is in the interest of all law enforcement officers to support a culture in which intervention by their colleagues is recognized as protecting them as well as the community. We are all human. Any of us can lose some self-control once events trigger our adrenaline. When citizens intervene to calm their fellow citizens and police intervene to calm their fellow police officers, there will be far fewer unintended tragic outcomes.