POLICE Magazine Supplements

Civil Unrest 2017

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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4 S P E C I A L R E P O R T: C I V I L U N R E S T O ne of the best force multipliers for agen- cies responding to small or large distur- bances involving civil unrest is the use of non- lethal tools, including aerosols and munitions. Non-lethal weapons are both a visual and physical deterrent. Almost everyone has a fear of having weap- ons pointed at them, and in many situations this fear of the unknown can get people to back down, which assists agencies in maintaining the peace. Understanding the psychological effects of just show- ing non-lethal weapon systems in the hands of officers can help an agency to apply non-escalation and de-es- calation strategies before the actual deployment of these systems becomes necessary. DETERRENCE e placement of non-lethal weapons operators in a formation of officers is important. ere have always been psychological effects of seeing a shotgun or a 37mm or 40mm launcher on a riot line. ese non-lethal weapons tend to earn the respect of everyone who sees them. Non-lethal aerosols and munitions give agencies the abil- ity to reach out into a crowd and apply force when necessary at ranges as far away as 100 yards and as close as 10 feet. is lets officers neutralize violent actors even when they are mixed among lawful protesters. PHYSICAL EFFECTS Even though non-lethal weapons are not intended to kill, they can have serious and dangerous effects. So it's important that officers know what these tools can do. Using non-lethal weapons to deploy chemical or specialty impact munitions can cause physiological effects. ese in- clude respiratory distress, impaired vision, and blunt force trauma that can create muscular dysfunction. Impact munitions can also cause physical bruising and pos- sible penetration. e likelihood of these injuries can be affect- ed by many factors such as the distance from the subject, age of the subject, height and weight of the subject, and the clothing worn by the subject. ZONES OF EFFECTIVENESS Each non-lethal weapon that agencies can deploy, whether it is a chemical or specialty impact munition, is designed for a spe- cific mission. And its effectiveness in accomplishing that mis- sion is often affected by the distance to the target. e distance from the deploying officers to the target is also important in establishing justification for using it. It's common practice to categorize the deployment rang- es into zones of effectiveness, starting with 10 feet from the riot line and then extending outward from the line at 50-foot intervals. Here's a look at what is happening in each of the zones. Zone 1—Immediate reat ere is only 0 to 10 feet between the police line and the pro- testers. Due to the close distance to the protesters, the officers on the front line have little time to react to an attack and a very limited field of view. Non-Lethal Weapons and Civil Unrest IT'S IMPORTANT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO HAVE DEVELOPED PLANS FOR WHAT TOOL WILL BE USED AND WHEN IF A PROTEST BECOMES A VIOLENT DISTURBANCE. DAVE YOUNG

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