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ties against police officers. EPIC simply is a tool that provides officers with a more effective and safer way to prevent mistakes and misconduct among their peers. It’s facilitated by a culture that embraces active bystandership as the most sincere form of loyalty to a colleague. The more officers who incorporate EPIC tools into their daily routines, the more careers will be saved. And everyone wins — the officers, the department, the city, and the public. EDITOR’S NOTE: The NOPD and Loyola University New Orleans School of Law are holding their Second Annual Executive Leadership Conference on Police Peer Intervention in New Orleans on June 20 and 21. Registration information can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org .
Police, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, drew attendees from as far away as Honolulu. The conference organizers expect between 100-150 attendees at this year’s second annual confer- ence, scheduled for June 20-21 in New Orleans. The NOPD also has seen interest in its EPIC program expand well beyond the Crescent City. The FBI now incorporates peer intervention in its already-impressive National Academy cur- riculum. Springfield, Massachusetts provides peer intervention training to its officers. Richmond, Virginia is in the process of rolling out an EPIC-style program. And now, as was reported in The Washington Post, NOPD’s recently-departed superintendent is bringing EPIC with him to Baltimore. EPIC: A WIN/WIN STRATEGY The national attention EPIC has been receiving should not come as a surprise to anyone. While historic reform efforts often are embraced either by police or the public, few seem to draw across-the-board support from all stakeholders. EPIC is different, perhaps because EPIC is all upside. There is almost nothing neg- ative one could say about teaching officers a new career-saving skill. It’s not a policy. It’s not a rule. It doesn’t label police officers as bad apples or prompt knee-jerk defensiveness. It doesn’t depend on officers having super-human moral courage to buck human nature. It brings with it no new reporting obligations. And it imposes no new obligations on or disciplinary opportuni- EPIC PROGRAM IN THE NOPD Changing the culture of an agency and modifying officer behavior is not an easy task, but it is exactly what we as law enforcement leaders have to do if we want our profession to survive. A drive for positive change motivated the men and women of the NOPD to create a program designed to save officer lives and careers by reducing mistakes and misconduct. Ethical Policing is Courageous (EPIC) teaches officers and supervisors how to accept intervention constructively and graciously while empowering all officers, regardless of rank, to intervene before mistakes or misconduct occurs. The “courage” embraced by EPIC is slightly different from the “bravery” we commonly associate with our duties. Bravery is running toward gunfire instead of away from it. Courage is a rookie cop standing up to the veteran officer about to cross an ethical (or legal) line. As a police officer my entire adult life, I have seen police officers throw their careers away and/or destroy the careers of others in situations that could have and should have been avoided. These men and women would be productive officers today if only someone had had the courage to step in and say or do something. This is the essence of our EPIC program. It is about saving officer lives and saving officer careers from self- destruction, and better protecting the public in the process. NOPD’s EPIC program is about exploring new ways to have these courageous conversations with our colleagues safely and effectively. EPIC reflects a realization that peer intervention tech- niques are just as teachable and learnable as firearms and self-
About the Author: Jonathan Aronie is a partner in the Washington, DC office of Sheppard Mullin, and the co-leader of the firm’s Internal Investigations Practice Group. In 2013, Jonathan was appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to serve as the Federal Monitor over the New Orleans Po- lice Department Consent Decree. He teaches regularly at the FBI National Academy and is a pro bono member of NOPD’s EPIC Working Group.
defense training, and have far more application on a daily basis. Officers may never fire their weapon in the line of duty, but at some point they will be faced with a situation where a colleague is about to make a mistake or commit misconduct. They will have to choose between turning their back, going along with it, or having the courage to intervene before it occurs. Our program gives officers the training and tools that they need to make the right choice. The NOPD is committed to maintaining an environment where crime reduction, community engagement, and ethical policing can thrive together successfully. We strive to create a culture where innovation and reform-mindedness are encour- aged and rewarded. Likewise, it reflects on our rank and file’s willingness to use the current national focus on policing to drive change and reform from within while maintaining a commit- ment to reducing crime and protecting the citizens we serve. NOPD’s EPIC program is about changing our profession from the inside instead of waiting for outsiders to force change upon us. The men and women of the New Orleans Police Department have decided to blaze their own bold trail toward reform rather
than continuing to be dragged forward. We ask that you consider joining us on our journey as we lead change from within the NOPD and nationally. While our Depart- ment still has a long path ahead to rid itself of the vestiges of our past, EPIC reflects one big step along our path to success. About the Author: Paul M. Noel , Chief Deputy Superin- tendent, New Orleans Police Department, FBINA #230.
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