POLICE Magazine Supplements

Civil Unrest 2017

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/796170

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Page 16 of 19

S P E C I A L R E P O R T: C I V I L U N R E S T 17 or pushing the group back. A clear command of "move back" must be used in time with moving the bike fence back toward a group or subject. Bicycles can also be used in columns to prevent moving sub- jects form gaining access to a particular area. is is the easi- est 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 directing the group by clearly communicating turns and parting the crowd. In 2016, thousands of people attended the Republican Na- tional Convention. Some were supporters while others were attending in protest. In anticipation of the large crowds, the organizing bodies elected to use bicycle officers instead of pa- trol 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 threat- ening effect on most crowds. A concern in any moving protest is how to maintain professionalism and effectiveness, without sacri- ficing the safety of the group. As a moving unit of 20-30 bicycle of- ficers 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 bicy- cles 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 situations, 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 down- hill 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 at- mospheres in training can reduce the risk of panic during a real incident. e use of smoke canisters in training can also help practice the reduced visibility one 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 act- ing as one, or when the goal has not been properly communicated. e lead, or point, officer 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 International Police Mountain Bike Association provides a 40-hour course covering basic police cycling. Additional courses provided in- struction in the use of bicycle response teams. ese courses focus on crowd control and dispersal techniques as well as quelling riot groups. Officer Christian Bailey has been a police officer for 12 years with the Scottsdale (AZ) Police Department and is currently assigned to the Bike Unit where he has been a member for nine years. He is an International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA) EMS and Police Cyclist Instructor and most recently taught at the 2015 National Conference in Chandler, AZ. The right clothing and gear will help protect against violence while maintaining maneuverability. CONTROL A WELL-TUNED, PROPERLY TRAINED BICYCLE UNIT CAN EFFECTIVELY MANAGE MASS GATHERINGS OF PEOPLE. Christian Bailey

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