POLICE Magazine

OCT 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1037204

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Page 34 of 80

32 POLICE OCTOBER 2018 In the last few years, law enforcement agencies in the United States have dealt with more civil unrest than they have seen in decades. Since 2008, we've seen the Occupy movement, Black Lives Mat- ter, and a number of other activist groups take to the streets in protests, protests that can turn violent. is has been a shock to American law enforcement officers who since the end of the anti-Vietnam War era have been more likely to experience sports-related riots than political unrest. So now American officers are fac- ing a new era of protest, but agencies are still using tactics and methods and training their officers to the standards of 40 or more years ago. I submit to you that the time has come for change in how American officers respond to protests and riots, and that you could learn a lot from your colleagues across the Atlantic. Before I explain exactly what you can learn from the experiences of your colleagues in the United King- dom and Europe, let me say that the current mobile field force model of response here in the U.S. is dated and needs to evolve, but it still can provide a foundation that you can build upon. e current basic riot response has often been used as a sweeping response to resolve civil unrest issues in the U.S. However, it's important to note that not all protests turn into unrest. Law enforcement response to riots must single out the rioters and not tram- ple on the rights of lawful protesters. So we have to be careful and cautious when using force in a crowd. Knowing how to respond properly is a matter of training. THE HYBRID MODEL e first thing to consider when setting up a training program to build a civil unrest response team is selecting the right peo- ple for the job. Not every officer makes a great public order officer, just as not every officer is capable of being a SWAT officer. Specialized public order vehicles carry officers and their equipment to sites where crowd control is needed. PHOTOS: GEOFF PERRIN U.S. Park Police public order team officers train in all weather conditions, both night and day. BEYOND THE MOBILE FIELD FORCE Specially trained and equipped public order teams have proven to be effective in quelling rioters while ensuring the right of citizens to peacefully protest. GEOFF PERRIN BEYOND THE MOBILE FIELD FORCE Specially trained and equipped public order teams have proven to be effective in quelling rioters while ensuring the right of citizens to peacefully protest. GEOFF PERRIN Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and will react differently under varying stresses or situations. Once you have the right people, you need to give them solid training. Public order training needs to not only cover passive crowd control, but also needs to take officers out of their "comfortable bubble" so they will be able to deal with extreme and violent disorder in the cor- rect manner. Training on how to respond to passive crowds needs to move away from the umbrella approach of "Helmets On, Sticks Out, Step and Drag move- ment" and instead needs to get back to training officers to stand the line in their patrol uniforms communi- cating individually and interacting with the crowd. It's important that public order officers be trained to see crowds not as a pack but groups of individuals, each person having unique attitudes and intentions. Because public order events can roll over into a number of endless hours and can be physically and mentally draining, agencies need to have enough personnel either on their own or through mutual aid agree- ments to keep the peace. Not all of these officers need to be nor should be trained to the same level. Basic and advanced training standards should also be set up and adopted. e basic level of mobile field force (MFF) training has been offered for more than 40 years. But now some law enforce- ment departments have taken it upon

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