Sikeston DPS train to reduce mistakes, build community relations

The program is called Project A.B.L.E. which stands for Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement.
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 8:46 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2022 at 7:28 AM CDT
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SIKESTON, Mo. (KFVS) - A Heartland Police Department is looking to better their relationship with the community they serve.

Officers with the Sikeston Department of Public Safety were in class Wednesday training to be more accountable for their actions and build the trust of the community.

It’s called Project A.B.L.E. which stands for Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement which is aimed at creating a police culture in which officers can work on reducing misconduct, reducing mistakes and promote officer health and wellness.

“The old culture was kind of a self-preservation type culture,” Sikeston DPS Captain Jon Broom said. “We looked after each other, maybe when we saw officers engaged in minor misconduct and things like that, we kind of overlooked it. What A.B.L.E. is really about is intervening with officers on an officer level. It’s not about getting officers in trouble of snitching on officers or reporting things to your supervisor, it’s about officers being able to recognize certain situations between themselves and discussing how they can resolve those. It gives them tips on intervention and things like that.”

Broom said Project A.B.L.E. also helps with the relationship between officers and residents within the community.

“It helps build the trust in the community,” Broom said. “To let them know we are keeping an eye with each other and that if we do see officers engage in misconduct or activity that violates that trust, we’re going to address it.”

Sikeston DPS Public Safety Officer Eric Heider said it’s important to understand more about how to help a fellow officer if they are in need.

“To have the ability to help my coworkers, help my brothers and sisters and just know what I can do if they’re having problems, if there is something going on in their lives or if they are making a mistake, then I can help them to either stop that, prevent that or point them in a direction they need to go to be able to get help themselves,” Heider said.

Heider said even though they wear a badge, they are also human.

“We were civilians at one point, then we went in this profession,” Heider said. “We have the same problems as everybody else does and ours actually become a little more public which makes things even harder which is more of a reason for a class like this in my opinion.”

This training can save lives, careers, potentially prevents criminal prosecution of law enforcement and increases public trust. It also can reduce stress within the agency, prevents trauma to the community and builds respect for the profession.

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