NECC Police Academy 2019 graduation

Recruits from the November 2019 NECC Police Academy graduation

All Northern Essex Community College Police Academy student officers will now complete an eight-hour national training module that prepares them to intervene if a fellow officer is involved in misconduct.

The college’s academy is the first municipal police academy and the first community college in the state to be accepted into Georgetown University Law Center’s Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement Project.

The national training and support initiative is committed to building a culture of peer intervention that prevents harm. The ABLE Project was created in 2020.

“We feel this training is important because if we are going to see true progress in terms of police reform, it must start at the academy level,” said Joshua Stokel, director of NECC’s police academy.

According to Stokel, ABLE is focused on three pillars: Reducing police mistakes, preventing police misconduct, and promoting officer health and wellness.

The program guides agencies and communities on concrete measures that must be in place to create and sustain a culture of peer intervention.

“They lay the groundwork for evolving dynamics associated with modern policing strategies,” Stokel said.

The college joins more than 300 other law enforcement agencies and statewide and regional training academies from across the country and in Canada that have been accepted into the ABLE Project.

That includes the New Hampshire and Massachusetts state police, the Boston and Lawrence police departments, and the New Hampshire Police Academy.

The academy has partnered with instructors from the Lawrence Police Department to deliver the ABLE curriculum to all recruit classes.

Officers are trained in how to give an intervention, how to receive an intervention, and how to follow up on the intervention to prevent future harm.

ABLE also ensures that law enforcement officers learn strategies that are effective to avoid any biases in policing towards communities that are affected by prejudice and ineffective policing, Stokel said.

NECC’s Police Academy has graduated 11 classes since its inception in January of 2015. To date, more than 500 student officers have graduated from the academy, serving over 70 municipal police departments, eight colleges and universities, Massachusetts Port Authority, and the Somerville Housing Authority. The next class will graduate in November and a new class will start in January.

To learn more about the academy, contact Stokel at

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