CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – Chatham County Police Department (CCPD) is instituting a new program this week to cut down instances of unnecessary force and police misconduct during escalating situations. Right now, each officer is going through a new training series on when and how to intervene if a colleague crosses the line.
The training series — which was adopted from a similar program at the New Orleans Police Department — is called Ethical Policing is Courageous or EPIC.
“Duty to intervene has always been part of our policy since day one when we started patrolling in February of 2018,” explained CCPD Chief Jeff Hadley. “Policy is one thing. Backing it up with training that reinforces importance of it is another.”
In short, Chief Hadley says that training is about giving officers knowledge of what is accepted by the department and confidence to speak up and with each other.
“I’ve been a police officer for almost 30 years and I can tell you we haven’t done enough of that,” said Chief Hadley.
Eight officers of different ranks have been chosen by the department to lead 8-hour sessions for every officer. WSAV Crime Expert Gerry Long says most police officers will speak up, if they see something wrong. But she says that is hard for anyone in the workplace.
“It is a difficult decision to speak against one of your employees, so officers have to be rooted in their own ethics and have to have a clear definitive understanding of what the expectations of their department is as well as the community,” said Long.
CCPD says every officer will complete their training by the end of November.