POLICE Magazine Supplements

Civil Unrest 2017

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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12 S P E C I A L R E P O R T: C I V I L U N R E S T the officers do not appear paramilitary. Each officer in the team will have the option to wear either covert or overt ballistic body armor. Officers' feet and ankles should be protected by a public or- der boot. ese boots will be rated to stop punctures by nails and glass. e top and side of the boots must be rated to protect feet from bricks and other kinetic objects. e whole boot has to be fully fire resistant with the ability to shed burning chemicals. Public order team gloves need to be impact-, slash-, and fire resistant. But they also have to give the officers enough dex- terity that they can proficiently operate firearms and execute hands-on defensive tactic and subject control skills. For gear, each officer should carry a hydration system, com- munication system, personal Halotron fire extinguisher, sidearm, 24-inch acrylic baton (or equivalent), and accord- ing to the SOPs of their agency the rest of their personal protective tools such as a TASER, OC spray, or other tools. Shields are extreme- ly critical for a Level 1 public order team. Each officer needs to have ac- cess to varying types of Makrolon shields. Mak- rolon is a type of gasoline shedding high-impact polycarbonate. Poly- carbonate riot shields come in a 6-foot, 4-foot, and round shield configuration. ey can protect the officers from an enhanced threat from handheld weapons such as axes, baseball bats, machetes, and even samurai swords. When acquiring PPE and gear for your team, be aware that not all equipment is equal. One officer injured is one officer too many and an officer hurt due to substandard equipment is an officer who may use excessive use of force to retaliate in anger, which can be costly in terms of injury and liability for everyone involved. USING FORCE S ome may argue that with the types of threats mentioned above, we should have the ability and the right to use a higher level of force. is can be a controversial subject where passions and emotions can steer decisions. A stalemate and frustrations with the crowd can result in the use of multiple types of crowd dispersal munitions that can cause unneces- sary punishment to whole communities or attendees at events. Tear gas/OC is commonly the fallback option for dispersing most protests that have turned into a state of disorder. is has pros and cons. Yes, it can be effective. Yes, it can disperse some members of a crowd. However, it can be detrimental to those who are not committing offenses who are inadvertently caught up in a location where disorder is nearby and those munitions have been used. It can affect unprotected officers. It can cause alarm and distress to children and the elderly who may have breathing difficulties. And it can also cost an agency or city financially due to decontamination and civil law suits. ere are some agencies worldwide that have moved away from this type of munition in favor of the dynamic action of small team tactics. Some of the modern less-than-lethal weapon systems avail- able to law enforcement for crowd control in violent situations can be extremely effective. But proficiency through training is essential, and such weapon systems need to be highly accurate and used only against individuals committing violent offenses who we intend to arrest. A policy of indis- criminate targeting of a crowd is unacceptable in today's policing prac- tices. All officers should remember that every ac- tion they take will be re- corded by either the me- dia or individual citizens with recording devices. No officer is above the law. Every officer should clearly display their call sign or ID numbers or public order numbers so that the agency they are with can be transparent about the actions taken by the officers under their command. Public order in the 21st century must evolve from the lessons learned in the past century where some inappropriate action by poorly trained officers resulted in negative views of how the police dealt with minority groups protesting under their First Amendment right. We must get better at separating anarchists and violent agi- tators from peaceful protestors who are following the law and facilitate the ability for peaceful protestors to protest safely and without fear of retribution from police and federal agencies. We must also accept that we need specially trained and specially equipped public order officers to deal with the ever-increasing workload of protests now happening nationwide. Training and equipment must be improved to protect both officers and the citizens during this demanding time. Geoff Perrin is former British Army and a London Metropolitan Police Officer who served as a Public Order Level 1 officer and instructor. Perrin has been involved in public order for 27 years. He is now a U.S. citizen and a partner in Survival Edge Tactical Systems Inc. (www.survivaledgetactical.com), training officers both internationally and in the U.S. in public order response. It's important that public order teams train realistically using all of their equipment so they can build confidence in their ability to withstand attacks. Beyond the Mobile Field Force

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