A peer-intervention program is empowering St. Paul police officers to police themselves, Reg Chapman reports (2:10). WCCO 4 News At 6- June 8, 2021
- A peer-intervention program is empowering St. Paul police officers to police themselves, whether they have one day on the job or they're the chief of police. EPIC Training, or Ethical Policing Is Courageous, gives officers the skills needed to tap another officer on the shoulder and say, I got this, to prevent officer misconduct. Only on WCCO, Reg Chapman shows us how it works.
REG CHAPMAN: It's an additional tool of a St. Paul police officer's toolbox, a skill set that helps officers recognize when one of their own is not in command of all their emotions and may need to step back.
TODD AXTELL: This program really allows and empowers our officers, and expects our officers, to step in regardless of rank, regardless of time on the job. Tap that officer on the shoulder when they may be getting heated and say, I've got this.
REG CHAPMAN: The training is called EPIC, or Ethical Policing Is Courageous, it was first introduced in New Orleans. Chief Axtell and his command staff traveled South to learn how to educate, empower, and support officers on the street to play a meaningful role in policing one another.
TODD AXTELL: This is in addition to our ongoing training of implicit bias training, crisis intervention, de-escalation, moral courage training. The more training we have, the more awareness we have of who we are and how our emotions can impact the jobs that we have.
JOHN CAJACOB: What's great about this training is that it is interactive. It's built by officers. It's designed by our officers to be useful for our officers. So one of the things we wanted to do was implement a program that is tailor-made for our officers and our department.
REG CHAPMAN: Sergeant John Cajacob has led the charge in training all 585 St. Paul police officers.
LOU FERRARO: Becoming an active bystander in law enforcement is the most important thing that we could do for our community.
REG CHAPMAN: Officer Lou Ferraro, one of the first to go through the eight hour course, came up with the concept of a pin all who are trained now proudly wear.
JOHN CAJACOB: So this pin is not only a symbol of me saying that I'm willing to do that for my fellow officers, but it's also me saying I'm willing to accept that from another officer as well.
REG CHAPMAN: In St. Paul, Reg Chapman, WCCO4 News.
- Chief Axtell says the additional training is part of an ongoing effort to provide transparency and establish trust in the community. All new recruits will go through EPIC training.