POLICE Magazine

OCT 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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34 POLICE OCTOBER 2018 themselves to search out alternative ad- vanced public order methods, equipment, and standards. A number of these departments have looked at British and European models, which have been created and refined through vast experience. ey are now adopting a hybrid British, Northern Irish, German, and American model. is in- cludes high standards of equipment to mitigate the risks of injury in violent dis- order. It also calls on officers to be trained in core function defensive tactics tech- niques, so they can perform hands-on procedures and use reasonable and neces- sary force. In this hybrid mod- el, officers are intro- duced to de-escalation strategies and com- munication skills that enhance their ability to possibly change the outcome of a fluid and volatile situation. Scenario-based train- ing and repetition of different outcomes helps them build confidence in the equip- ment and tactics used. One of the key differences between the U.S. public order response training model and the British model is that in the U.K. chiefs and commanders have to at- tend a three-week-long public order cadre course where in addition to other train- ing they go through highly realistic real world scenarios with the line officers. is results in the command ranks having an understanding of the capabilities of their teams to influence the outcome of public order events. At the same time, they learn how to oversee the welfare and safety of every officer under their command. LEVEL 1 TRAINING In 2016 this hybrid public order response model was adopted by the Maryland State Police, the United States Park Police, the Montgomery County (MD) Police Depart- ment, and other agencies. In this model, officers who respond to protests and other civil unrest events are divided into three levels of training, standards, and responsibilities. Officers who are trained to stand the line in patrol uniform during peaceful protests are des- to reduce the likely injury to ourselves or others. To avoid using excessive force or even appearing to use excessive force, a public order team needs training in physical de- fense, less-than-lethal-weapon systems and munitions, and legal powers. is training must be continually reviewed and must evolve to meet changes in law and moral constraints. Maintaining Level 1 public order team readiness is not easy. Officers have to be willing to partake in extreme stress, real- world scenario, and monthly in-service developmental skills training. EQUIPMENT STANDARDS Public order officers need to have effec- tive personal protective equipment (PPE). Not all equipment is equal, which is why there have to be standards for personal protective equipment that meet the com- mon threats officers face during violent disorder. Officers who are correctly equipped and have ready access to that equipment when needed will have greater confidence in their own personal protection. Suitable PPE will put them in a positive mental state to deal with volatile situations. But officer confidence is not just about having the right equipment, it occurs because the officers are training with the right PPE under extremely stressful training conditions. Public order officers training in PPE should be exposed to Mo- lotov cocktails, thrown projectiles such as bricks and bottles, and abusive language tar- geting them as individ- uals. e right training and PPE will condition them to react propor- tionately to real events. Equipment needs to meet a minimum re- quirement to protect officers so that when they are called in to deal with violent disorder, they will be protected from many of the threats they will be ex- posed to. At this time, however, there is no established U.S. protection standard for this equipment. Looking at lessons learned by foreign law enforcement, who see violent public disorder on a regular Level 1 team members must be at a fitness level to face threats and still achieve mission goals. ignated Level 3. Officers with a little more training and more protective equipment are designated Level 2. And officers trained and equipped to react to violent unrest are designated Level 1. Agencies that follow this model hand select volunteers who want to be consid- ered for appointment to the Level 1 public order teams. A Level 1 team is a special- ized police public order unit that has spe- cialized personal protective equipment, gear, and vehicles. ey also have strong motivation, and the highest levels of training. Officer fitness stan- dards are very high for a Level 1 team. For example, they have to be able to complete a 1,000-meter run, car- rying a riot shield, and wearing personal pro- tective equipment in a time of five minutes or less. Some may argue that there is no need for such fitness levels for public order officers. It can be contro- versial for law enforcement departments, chiefs, and unions to set a minimum physical performance standard for their officers in these roles. However, they also have a duty of care, not only to the indi- vidual officer participating but also to the well-being and safety of the public order team as a whole. A Level 1 public order team uses high- ly skilled small team tactics that can have a great effect on a vastly superior number of protesters. e mem- bers of this team need to meet a fitness level so they can face threats and still achieve their mission goals. We have to be honest with our- selves, extreme violent disorder and physi- cal confrontation will take place during riots. e ability to deal with that violence physically and men- tally is of paramount importance. And the fact is that when officers are not fit for the mission, they may resort to using an enhanced or excessive level of force Working public order events can be physically and mentally drain- ing for officers. BEYOND THE MOBILE FIELD FORCE

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