Representatives from various city governments and police departments are in New Orleans today (May 17) to get training in a new program offered by the NOPD.
The visitors are here to learn about NOPD’s EPIC program. EPIC – Ethical Policing is Courageous – was launched in January 2016 with a goal of empowering officers on the streets to intervene if they see a colleague doing something wrong or unethical. NOPD leaders, supervisors and many rank-and-file officers have already received EPIC training, and the department is now in the process of training all current officers and new recruits. Thirty people participated in today’s class, which was held at the NOPD Training Academy.
Representatives from Arlington (TX), Memphis (TN) Police Department, San Francisco (CA) Police Department, the Newark (NJ) Consent Decree Monitoring Team, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection traveled to New Orleans to participate in the day-long EPIC training and learn about other reforms at NOPD.
The science behind EPIC is based upon years of social science research into “active bystandership.” The concept originated in studies of the Holocaust and other human rights atrocities that featured “passive bystanders” – people who stood back and didn’t say anything about the atrocities they were witnessing. An “active bystander” is one who intervenes to protect others rather than standing by and watching wrongdoing occur.
Former U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite called EPIC “a groundbreaking tool for repairing broken community trust” in an Op-Ed published by the New Orleans Times-Picayune.Polite also wrote that “EPIC is more than a training module; it is a philosophy that will manifest itself throughout the NOPD's operations and interactions.”
From 3-3:30 p.m. on THURSDAY, MAY 18, 2017, three NOPD officers will receive an EPIC pin during a ceremony in Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle’s courtroom on the fifth floor of the Federal Courthouse.
Prior to the pinning ceremony there will be a public Consent Decree hearing on EPIC in Federal Court in front of Judge Susie Morgan. NOPD officers of multiple ranks will make presentations on EPIC and discuss what it means for the department. Community members, Consent Decree Monitors, and a representative of the Department of Justice will discuss the importance of EPIC program.