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The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office Wants to Change Policing Culture With ‘Bystandership’ Training

Over the next several months, employees of the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office will be trained in “bystandership training” in an effort to change the culture of policing.

On Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office announced that it was chosen out of hundreds of applicants around the country to participate in Georgetown University Law Center’s Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) Project. There are 34 other law enforcement participants.

Over the next several months, all deputy and civilian employees will be required to get eight hours of “evidence-based active bystandership training designed not only to prevent harm, but to change the culture of policing,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Dana Lawhorne said the initiative that improves his department’s ability to meet community expectations,

“That’s why we aggressively sought to be a part of this,” Lawhorne said. “It’s important to us as an agency, it’s important to the community we serve.”

Sheriff’s Office staff will undergo train-the-trainer classes and become certified ABLE trainers. Letters supporting the Sherifff’s application were sent by Mayor Justin Wilson, Correctional Services Advisory Board Chair Amy Reed and Human Rights Commission Vice Chair Matt Harris.

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