POLICE Magazine

APR 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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28 POLICE APRIL 2019 line is not to be crossed, anyone who might pass through a bike fence could possibly face arrest for entering a crime scene or disobeying police commands. You can add to the bike fence by overlapping the front tire of one bicycle with the rear tire of the bicycle in front of it. is can be accomplished with as few as two officers but can be greatly effective with multiple officers over- lapping their wheels to create a larger barrier to move in front of large crowds. e number of officers is dictated by the size of the crowd and the environment it is in. Maneu- vers are done in either a static or moving position. MOVING OR STATIC DISPLAY e static use of bicycles is usually seen at the end of roadways or at large intersections. ey can be placed across roadways, placing the bikes front wheel over rear wheel, in solid formation that allows for a skirmish line to be created in a mobile field force situation. As long as the integrity of the forma- tion is maintained, a unit can conduct arrests and maneuvers behind the line of bicycles effectively and safely. Mobile field force units that deploy accessory weapons or those that are on foot can move through the skirmish line to ef- fect arrests. e static line of bicycles can be much more effective than patrol officers standing shield to shield. A group of bicycles can be placed front tire to rear tire, the officers can move back several feet, and the integrity of the line is still main- tained. A moving group of bicycle officers can be used in the same manner as most mobile field force formations. ey can be positioned in a wedge formation, forcing groups to move laterally or pushing the group back. A clear com- mand of "move back" must be used in time with moving the bike fence back toward a group or subject. You can also use bicycles in columns to prevent mov- ing subjects form gaining access to a particular area. is is the easiest and most effective way to move a group of bicycles. Once in a column, officers can turn and form a barrier between the intended groups. Officers can then be placed away from the crowd to quickly respond only when needed. is provides a swift movement of officers to one location with little disruption of a crowd. ese columns can also be used to protect dignitaries and move them through a crowd. e columns will ride on each side of the individual with a point officer direct- ing the group by clearly communicating turns and part- ing the crowd. In 2016, thousands of people attended the Republican National Convention. Some were supporters while oth- ers were attending in protest. In anticipation of the large crowds, the organizing bodies elected to use bicycle of- ficers instead of patrol resources for security. is was because bicycle officers are more mobile and can react more quickly to the movements of the protests. ey are also less assuming and have a less threatening effect on most crowds. A concern in any moving protest is how to maintain professionalism and effectiveness, without sac- rificing the safety of the group. As a moving unit of 20 to 30 bicycle officers per group, 300 bike officers were able to surround entrances and seal off corridors to raucous protestors, which were constantly moving back and forth. ey did so by positioning their bicycles in a proper bike fence with overlapping tires. TRAINING AND EQUIPMENT e greatest asset in moving crowds is proper training and equipment. In field force and crowd movement situa- tions, wearing long sleeves and pants is best if munitions are being used. Wearing padded sleeves or shoulder pads has been found to be effective against crowds that are violent. e use of downhill riding gear has shown to be effective due to its reduced weight and ease of maneuverability in it. Officers must practice using specialty equipment to create a professional and effective response. Riding while wearing a gas mask can cause some officers to panic. Mimicking riot-like atmospheres in training can reduce the risk of panic during a real incident. Using smoke canisters in training can also help officers practice the reduced visi- bility they might face in addressing an aggressive crowd. Effective communication is also a must in moving crowds. e calmest crowd can be a chore to control when the group is not acting as one, or when the goal has not been properly communicated. e lead, or point, offi- cer should be clearly identified prior to moving the crowd. Always assess the routes of escape for the crowd as well as potential hang-ups prior to attempting to move them. To best prepare yourself to handle crowds as part of a bicycle unit, look for proper training in your area. e In- ternational Police Mountain Bike Association provides a 40-hour course covering basic police cycling. Additional courses provide instruction in the use of bicycle response teams. ese courses focus on crowd control and disper- sal techniques as well as quelling riot groups. Officer Christian Bailey has been a police officer for 14 years with the Scottsdale (AZ) Police Department and is current- ly assigned to the Bike Unit where he has been a member for 11 years. He is an International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA) EMS and Police Cyclist Instructor and most recently taught at the 2017 National Conference in Delaware, OH. Bicycles can be used to create a barrier for keeping people out of restricted areas or blocking progress of demonstrators. PHOTO: CHRISTIAN BAILEY BICYCLES FOR CROWD CONTROL

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