ST. GEORGE, Utah (KDXU) - As of Feb. 10, the Dixie State Police agency has become the first department in Utah to gain Active Bystander for Law Enforcement (ABLE) certification. 

Police misconduct happens more often than officers want to admit, according to Blair Barfuss, the Chief of Police for Dixie State University. That’s why he’s bringing Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement also known as the ABLE Project, to Utah.

“The bystandership piece comes into place before policies are violated, before a law is broken, and before there is actually discipline or use or force, or something that could be catastrophic,” he says.

Barfuss says he wants to prevent misconduct like what American’s witnessed after George Floyd’s murder and the mistakes during Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie’s case.

“The whole idea behind this is if something is not being done absolutely and an officer sees or understands something Is just not right, they can approach that officer through this training and understanding and say let’s talk about this or let’s approach it this way,” he says.

DSU is the first agency in the state to be ABLE certified and now Barfuss is working to train other local officers.

“Chief Wallentine at West Jordan’s reached out and he’s working with us to get his agency, not only  certified through ABLE but also his instructors squared up and his whole agency trained in the next few months,” he says.

Barfuss says by getting other officers properly trained, law enforcement officials will be able to take better care of their communities.

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