How Police Prepare for Protests and Riots
With recent increases in protests and riots across the country, and throughout much of the world, police readiness for such events has been put to the test. A police force that is properly trained to handle an uprising can help prevent protests from escalating, therefore decreasing the likelihood of a riot.
How Do Police Train for Handling Protesters?
The proper handling of protesters is vital in keeping an uprising from escalating. In fact, many police departments have developed strategic response plans and appointed emergency managers to handle this type of a situation. In line with these implementations, police officers are also being trained to deal with protesters non-physically.
It is crucial for law enforcement to understand that people are allowed to exercise their rights in a peaceful manner, by local laws, and that any unnecessary interference could lead to further unrest. During a protest, police must show that they have the situation under control, without implementing any forceful actions that could spark the crowd.
How Does Police Training Differ for Riots?
When protests get out of hand, the situation can quickly escalate into a riot. However, unlike protests, which can be managed in a peaceful manner without force, many riots require physical action by the police to get the situation under control, and therefore, riot training is essential.
One of the primary objectives for law enforcement during a riot is to secure all facilities that are vital for operations of the community, such as police departments and hospitals. If a riot cannot be suppressed, it may be necessary for external agencies to become involved, such as the SWAT team or the National Guard. Local law enforcement should be trained to work in tandem with these organizations, to provide knowledge of the area and its residents.
What Type of Equipment is Used?
There are several pieces of equipment that are commonly used to quell riots and keep protesters in check. Perhaps the most recognizable piece of equipment used by law enforcement during a riot is the riot shield. Riot body shields, along with helmets and tactical face shields, serve to protect police officers from weapons and debris that can be used against them. Also, riot teams often use non-lethal weapons, such as pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets to disperse unruly crowds.
Do Preparation and Methods Differ by State and Country?
The preparation that is required for a protest or riot will vary somewhat, depending on the state or country in which it takes place. Law enforcement agencies in the United States typically prepare for uprisings in a similar fashion. However, in states that have densely populated cities, more elaborate preparations are needed.
While protests and riots in other countries are handled similarly to those in the U.S., there are other factors that make these situations unique. The rights of the citizens will depend on the country in which they reside, and this can dictate the action that the government takes in remedying these situations.