Copwatch College is up and running!
Last year in the highlight of the Ferguson Rebellions , The Canfield Watchmen, (a Copwatch group based in the neighborhood where Mike Brown was killed) were working tirelessly, training local residents about their rights when stopped by the police, and while Copwatching.
While we were effective in training people in the St. Louis area, countless people were inquiring about how to receive a training, and or how to start a Copwatch in their own community.
Initially Copwatch College was going to be released as an online course that offered a series of classes that could provide the public with an in depth understanding of their rights, and about Copwatch.
But in late 2015, core members of WeCopwatch established their National Headquarters in the West End of the City of St. Louis and we began our first series of Copwatch College classes.
We first trained The Peaceful Streets Project out of Austin, Texas.
Peaceful Streets Project
We then trained some of the original members of the Canfield Watchmen to expand our instructors on the ground able to do basic Copwatch/Know Your Rights Trainings in the City and County.
Some original members of The Canfield Watchmen
We even trained Ramsey and Bella Orta
Our next series of Copwatch College will take place in NYC with WeCopwatch member Ramsey Orta, and then in Baltimore with WeCopwatch member Kevin Moore.
Here are some of the classes offered. .
We explore the idea of Copwatch, its function, and what it can look like in practice. We also cover the history of Copwatch and it’s role in movements throughout history.
2. Police stops and encounters
We deal with the different types of encounters and stops that one can have with law enforcement. We educate people about their rights during those interactions, and tactics and strategies for asserting rights when approached, stopped, or questioned by law enforcement
We deal with how to effectively Copwatch and document police stops and encounters. We explore proactive and responsive methods of Copwatching ranging from organized patrols to community defense projects. We cover methods of de-escalation, and ideas on how to maximize one’s presence and impact while documenting police stops. We also cover different ways to document. (written, audio, video, streaming)
4. The Witness
We deal with the importance of being a good Witness, both in conduct and in documenting. We deal with tactics and strategies for how we conduct ourselves as a Witness, and how to effectively document police encounters in a manner where the documentation can be used as evidence. We also cover tips and tactics on real time information collection.
5. The Aftermath
We deal with the aftermath of incidents ranging from evidence collection, to locating Witnesses. We also cover questions of what to do with evidence and documentation. (Getting the evidence to the victim, compiling and organizing data, educating the public)
If you are a group or friends, or organization that wants to start a Copwatch project, check in with us. We’re hoping to train throughout the year, and have our online course up by the summer.