About

About Copwatch College

Inspired by Berkeley Copwatch’s UC Berkeley class and motivated by daily requests for support and training, WeCopwatch has created a standardized training curriculum called Copwatch College that is based on years of hands-on experience, covering five modules that are typically taught over the span of three to four days. We take our trainings out of the classroom and we bring them into the streets. We believe the best way to teach is to provide a balance of information and real life examples so you can determine what works best for you.

This learning material is free for anyone with a computer, tablet, or smart phone and can be utilized by individuals or groups interested in understanding more about their rights and best practices when observing the police.

This learning system has the capability of being used offline with our downloadable informational material which can be printed and distributed in the streets or used during trainings.

If you would like your community or organization to receive a Copwatch training you can reach out to:WeCopwatch@gmail.com

What We Do

WeCopwatch is a nationwide grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about their rights when interacting with law enforcement, how to safely and effectively document incidents, and how to de-escalate conflicts with the police. We also advocate for victims of police abuse. Through systematic trainings, education of trainers, and distribution of our Copwatch College/Know-Your-Rights materials, we seek to maximize our impact by working directly with vulnerable groups and communities.

We believe that everybody should, not only know their rights when being stopped by the police, but should also be prepared to act when they witness questionable police behavior. Members of WeCopwatch have filmed several high-profile police killings in recent years, including the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Our approach of combining education, advocacy, and empowerment both on-the-ground and remotely was recently featured in the documentary film COPWATCH, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

While our primary focus is on the cities and neighborhoods where we reside, our members frequently deploy to critical incidents elsewhere to document evidence and connect with victims and witnesses. We have provided rapid-response and ongoing support to other cop-watch projects and initiatives in diverse communities, ranging from the streets of Ferguson, Baltimore, and Oakland to the prairies of North and South Dakota. We regularly and proactively conduct community trainings and support the formation of new cop-watch groups to ensure that local first responders are prepared when a police incident occurs in their community.

Mission

The primary goal of of Copwatch College is to train communites how to watch the police, to educate and empower the public by informing people about Copwatch as a community defense tool, and to teach people about their rights in the event they are stopped by the police.

Copwatch College supports community forms of justice, whether they be restorative or transformative, that do not involve the police or the criminal justice system. Copwatch College does not work with the police or aide the police in their investigations. When Copwatching we do not support the filming of criminal activity, and we do not provide video or photos to the police.

Copwatch College promotes the non-violent observation of the police and is against all forms of hate and bigotry.

Policing the Police: The Copwatch Movement,
Vice News​

Welcome to Copwatch College
Tom Nolan, Former Senior Policy Advisor in the Department of Homeland Security

Principles of Non-Oppression

WeCopwatch is against all forms of oppression whether institutional or internalized.

We stand against white supremacy, racism, sexism, violence against women, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and any form of collectivized hatred or bigotry.

As a small collective, we realize that the only way to make police obsolete is to not perpetuate their behaviors, and to live in such a manner where people no longer rely on police.

As WeCopwatch we choose to deal with incidents or patterns exhibited by our members/allies/team in a manner that can help an individual understand how their mindset or actions hurt and impact others.

The goal is that in this process we can all learn from each other, build a stronger organization, and make the world a better place.

How We Conduct Ourselves on the Streets

WeCopwatch is dedicated to the nonviolent observation of the police.We watch the police directly, and we use our presence as a de-escalating or mediating factor in interactions that are aggressive and hostile. We know that how we conduct ourselves can have a negative or positive effect on both the person stopped and those who Copwatch in the future.From our body language to the way we interact with police stops, we seek to de-escalate aggressive interactions and to serve as a deterrent to police misconduct.

We understand the difficulty of having to watch constant disempowerment, and also understand we can only strive to be our best under conditions that are often unpredictable. Therefore we are dedicated to the principles of Non Oppression and models of Copwatching that have worked best over the years. We will make mistakes, but we will always strive to do our best.

Supporting Organizations

Support our work
100% of your donations will go toward building Copwatch College.