Everyone in the United States has the right to demonstrate, march, protest, or perform similar activities protected under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. However, when these types of gatherings get out of control, law enforcement is often forced to step in. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) describes a civil disturbance as an unlawful assembly that constitutes a breach of the peace or an assembly of individuals that creates a threat of property damage, violence, or other unlawful acts. Understanding proper crowd control tactics is critical when law enforcement officers are faced with unruly citizens. When training for riot control, there are some essential skills and techniques that officers should learn.
Having concise plans in place on how to deal with crowd control prior to an occurrence is essential for the safety of officers and the public. Clearly define the roles and expectations of officers prior to expected protests or demonstrations.
Officers should be reminded that they should respect the First Amendment rights of protesters and the sanctity of life. In addition, officers should understand under what circumstances they should use force or make arrests.
Strategic planning should include information gathering, communicating with trusted departments that have had similar gatherings, speaking with advocates, and learning about expected participants.
In times of civil unrest, communication is vital. Law enforcement should possess effective communication skills that allow them to clearly share information with both civilians and other law enforcement officials.
To ensure that the public is kept aware of potentially risky situations, police departments should designate a public information officer to provide continuous updates to the media and to correct any misconceptions that could potentially ignite protestors.
Maintaining a clear line of communication can help calm intense situations and reduce the risk of violent outbursts. Law enforcement should also consider tactics to disperse crowds, such as setting curfews prior to expected gatherings.
Equipment & Supplies
Law enforcement officials should possess the necessary equipment and supplies to remain safe in high-risk public situations. Essential tactical riot gear includes:
- Riot Suit: A riot suit is designed to cover and protect the torso. It is resistant to a wide range of physical trauma.
- Helmets: Riot helmets provide side, top, and back head coverage to protect against a variety of threats.
- Gloves: With riot gloves, law enforcement officers can protect their hands and wrists from debris and blows.
- Shields: A riot shield can be used to block, push back against threats, or restrict movement.
- Batons: Batons can be useful weapons effective at jabbing, blocking, striking, or aiding in arm locks.
- Backpacks and Carry Bags: Law enforcement relies on backpacks and carry bags to store and gain quick access to essential supplies while on the job.
- Accessories: Gain an advantage with tactical accessories like Mk9 and Mk4 pouches, grenadier bags, utility bags, MOLLE platforms, and hydration packs.
Strategic Riot Response
During demonstrations, law enforcement officers should be trained to focus on crowd management rather than crowd control. The use of force, detentions, and arrests should be avoided during peaceful demonstrations whenever possible.
To help keep groups at ease, police should clearly communicate the thresholds for arrests and give participants warnings when in near violation of the law. Arrests should only be made when a crime has been committed.
Law enforcement should have a tailored response to various moods and actions of crowds. Understanding what words or actions could potentially increase tensions and avoiding them can help prevent escalation.
Shop Tactical Riot Gear
Riot control methods generally involve the use of important equipment and supplies, such as riot suits, batons, gloves, helmets, shields, and accessories like utility bags and cooling gel packs.
At Haven Gear, we are proud to carry an extensive selection of next-gen riot gear designed using innovative technologies and high-quality materials. Shop Haven Gear today and outfit your law enforcement officers with premier riot gear and equipment.