Postby admin » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:06 am

by Police Executive Research Forum
June, 2011




This publication was supported by the Motorola Solutions Foundation. The points of view expressed herein are the authors’ and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Motorola Solutions Foundation or individual Police Executive Research Forum members.

Police Executive Research Forum, Washington, D.C. 20036
Copyright 2011 by Police Executive Research Forum

Cover photo credits, starting upper left and moving clockwise: Chicago Police Department (Stanley Cup celebration); Steve Jurvetson/Flickr (Obama acceptance speech at Invesco Field in Denver); News Muse/Flickr (Hurricane Katrina).

Cover and interior design by Dave Williams

Table of Contents

• Acknowledgements
• Introduction
• Chapter 1: Planning for Disasters
o Lessons from Hurricane Katrina: The police perspective
o Lessons from Hurricane Katrina: The federal perspective
o Responding to the Interstate 35 Minneapolis bridge collapse
o Sidebar: What the 1999 World Trade Organization conference in Seattle taught police executives
• Chapter 2: A “Softer” Approach to Crowd Management: The Vancouver Model
o Tolerance and police restraint win Olympic crowds over
o Discretion and crowd interaction are key to policing Mardi Gras crowd
• Chapter 3: Policing Sporting Events and Celebratory Crowds
o Preparing for Game 7 of the NBA finals
o Sidebar: 2012 London Olympics planning
o Chicago Stanley Cup victory parade
• Chapter 4: A Candid Assessment of the National Incident Management System
o Sidebar: Responding to an unplanned event during a planned event
• Chapter 5: Working with Multiple Agencies: Who’s in Charge?
• Chapter 6: Mutual Aid is Critical to Event Management in Mid-Size Cities
o Sidebar: Event management and security within the National Football League
• Chapter 7: Preparing for Protesters at Major Events
o 2008 Republican National Convention
o The Toronto G-20 protests
• Chapter 8: Technology’s Role in Major Events:
o Communications, Video and Social Media
• Chapter 9: Post-Event Litigation: Strategies to Prevent Lawsuits While Ensuring Accountability
o Documenting your planning can help defend against charges of “deliberate indifference”
o Have an attorney on the scene
o If you can avoid making arrests, do so
o Get the message down the ranks: Making expectations clear
o Sidebar: “Amnesty boxes” reduce arrests during festivals
• Chapter 10: Advice from the Federal Agencies
• About PERF
• About Motorola Solutions and the Motorola Solutions Foundation
• Appendix: Executive Session Participants
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Postby admin » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:06 am


This report is the 17th in the “Critical Issues in Policing” series that the Police Executive Research Forum has produced with support from the Motorola Solutions Foundation. On issues ranging from police use of force to gangs, guns, and violent crime reduction, the Critical Issues series has aimed to bring the most current information and guidance from leading police practitioners to the field of law enforcement across the nation.

In this report, we take on the issue of policing major events—both planned events, such as major political demonstrations, and unplanned events, such as natural disasters and acts of terrorism.

Once again, PERF is grateful to all of the police chiefs and other officials who contributed to this effort. Many of you agreed to be interviewed by PERF staffers, and you helped steer us in the right directions as we developed the agenda for our Executive Session on Managing Major Events. And thanks to everyone who took the time to travel to Washington, D.C. for the Executive Session (see the Appendix at the end of this report for a list of participants). As always, PERF could not undertake these meetings and write our reports on the critical issues in policing if we did not have the strong support and contributions of our members and other law enforcement leaders who willingly share their knowledge and expertise.

Thanks also go to Motorola Solutions and the Motorola Solutions Foundation, whose support over the last 20 years has made it possible for PERF to conduct the research and produce the publications in the Critical Issues series. We are grateful to Greg Brown, Chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions; Gene Delaney, Executive Vice President, Product and Business Operations; Mark Moon, Senior Vice President, Sales and Field Operations; Karen Tandy, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs; Rick Neal, Vice President, Government Strategy and Business Development; and Matt Blakely, Director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation.

Finally, I’d like to thank the PERF staff members who worked on this project. Tony Narr, PERF’s Director of Management Education, and PERF Chief of Staff Andrea Luna provided overall leadership and management of the project. Research Associate Shannon McFadden, Project Assistant Jacob Berman, and PERF Fellow Jennifer Evans, who recently returned to her position as a captain in the Houston Police Department, conducted interviews of police leaders and laid the groundwork for the Executive Session, and conducted all of the behind- the-scenes work to ensure that the Executive Session ran smoothly. Dan Kanter also conducted research and played a key role assisting Shannon McFadden and Tony Narr in drafting this report. Communications Director Craig Fischer superbly edited the report and managed the myriad details associated with its production, and PERF’s graphic designer, Dave Williams, contributed his excellent design skills and close attention to detail in producing the report.

Frankly, we sometimes are gratified and a bit surprised when the most experienced police chiefs—the very people we call upon to share their wisdom for Critical Issues projects—tell us at the end of an Executive Session that they learned a great deal from the meeting. That tells us that there is a need for greater information-sharing among police executives, and that is what we hope to accomplish with reports like this one. I hope you will find this report informative and interesting.

Chuck Wexler
Executive Director
Police Executive Research Forum
Washington, D.C.
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Postby admin » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:07 am

By Chuck Wexler


One of the most important challenges facing police executives is the need to prepare their departments for major events—everything from large-scale political protest marches and sporting events to natural disasters and acts of terrorism.

To some extent, this is an issue that tends to affect departments serving larger cities, as these sites are most often chosen to host major events such as the Olympics or a national political convention. However, police departments in any size jurisdiction can suddenly be called upon to respond to an earthquake, a flood, or an act of terrorism. And often, when cities or other jurisdictions host events such as a visit from the President, they need to work cooperatively with other local agencies to develop a large enough police presence to meet the demands of the event, and to coordinate travel and multiple events that may occur across jurisdictional lines.

Managing major events requires police chiefs to have a good sense of vision, an ability to look into the future and imagine the types of disasters or other events that might occur in their jurisdiction. Police agencies are always busy with the daily press of responding to calls for service, investigating crimes, and solving crime and disorder problems. So it requires a certain amount of far-sightedness to find time to prepare for events that might never occur, but which could cause tremendous devastation, and to realize that the devastation could be made worse if the police are unprepared for it.

PERF’s “Critical Issues in Policing” series was created to focus on issues like this. We understand that police agencies’ planning for major events is an enormous topic. Entire books could be written about various subtopics, such as crowd control techniques, police training programs for major events, or the use of social media to communicate with the public during a crisis.

So this report is not a comprehensive study of all of the aspects of policing major events. Rather, this report aims to explore some of the key issues that have proved important or difficult in the real world of policing. PERF’s approach to this project, as with many other PERF initiatives, is to bring police practitioners together to discuss the issues they have encountered, the approaches that they have tried and have found either useful or unhelpful, and the lessons they have learned.

More specifically, PERF identified scores of police executives who have had experience dealing with natural disasters, major sporting events such as the Olympics, national political conventions, and other major events. We invited these leaders to participate in an Executive Session at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. in November 2010, where they discussed the most critical issues they encountered and their approaches to solving the problems they faced.

The bulk of this report consists of quotations from that Executive Session. Starting on the next page, police executives, in their own words, will share their collective knowledge and wisdom about managing major events. [1]

Most chapters of the report conclude with recommendations and lessons learned from the discussions.
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Postby admin » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:13 am

CHAPTER 1: Planning for Disasters



New Orleans Deputy Police Chief Kirk Bouyelas:
We Rewrote Our Emergency Preparedness Plan Following Hurricane Katrina

When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, we did have plans in place, but the plans were insufficient. We simply did not have enough resources to manage such a large scale event like Katrina. To mention just one huge issue at the starting point: The levies broke; the streets flooded; our cars were rendered inoperable; and we had to get around by boat. But the department only had approximately 12 boats, and that simply was not enough.

My name is Jason Robideaux, I am an attorney from Lafayette Louisiana and have dealt with all of the various law enforcement agencies in Louisiana during the past 18 years. Although I have had a positive relationship with law enforcement personnel throughout the State for many years, I regretfully have a story to share that will shake your head in disbelief about the La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries.

A group of approximately 1,000 citizens pulling 500 boats left the Acadiana Mall in Lafayette this morning (Weds.) and headed to New Orleans with a police escort from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department. The "flotillia" of trucks pulling boats stretched over five miles. This citizen rescue group was organized by La. State Senator, Gautreaux from Vermilion Parish. The group was comprised of experienced boaters, licensed fishermen and hunters, people who have spent their entire adult life and teenage years on the waterways of Louisiana.

The State Police waved the flotillia of trucks/boats through the barricades in LaPlace and we sped into New Orleans via I-10 until past the airport and near the Clearview exit. At that time we were stopped by agents of the La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries. A young DWF agent strolled through the boats and told approximately half of the citizens that their boats were "too large" because the water had "dropped during the night" and that they should turn around and go home.

We were pulling a large (24ft) shallow draft aluminum boat that can safely carry 12 passengers and had ramp access which would allow the elderly and infirm to have easier access to the boat. We politely informed the DWF agent that the local and national media had consistently reported that the water level had "risen" during the night which contradicted his statement to us that the water "was dropping" and no boat over 16ft. in length would be allowed to participate in rescue operations.

We then specifically asked the DWF agent that we (and other citizens in the flotillia) be allowed to go to the hospitals and help evacuate the sick and the doctors and nurses stranded there. We offered to bring these people back to Lafayette, in our own vehicles, in order to ensure that they received proper and prompt medical care.

The DWF agent did not want to hear this and ordered us home. We complied with the DWF agent's orders, turned around and headed back to Lafayette along with half of the flotillia. However, two of my friends were pulling my other boat, a smaller 15ft alumaweld with a 25 hp. The DWF agents let them through to proceed to the rescue operation launch site.

My two friends were allowed to drive to the launch site where the La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries were launching their rescue operations (via boat). They reported to me that there were over 200 DWF agents just standing around and doing nothing. My friends were kept there for approximately 3 hours. During that time they observed a large number of DWF agents doing nothing. After three hours had passed they were told that they were not needed and should go home. They complied with the DWF's orders and turned around and went home to Lafayette.

Watching CNN tonight, there was a telephone interview with a Nurse trapped in Charity Hospital in New Orleans. She said that there were over 1,000 people trapped inside of the hospital and that the doctors and nurses had zero medical supplies, no diesel to run the generators and that only three people had been rescued from the hospital since the Hurricane hit!

I can't come up with one logical reason why the DWF sent this large group of 500 boats/1000 men home when we surely could have rescued most, if not all, of the people trapped in Charity Hospital. Further, we had the means to immediately transport these people to hospitals in Southwest Louisiana.

On Tuesday afternoon, August 30, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee asked for all citizens with boats to come to the aid of Jefferson Parish. A short time later Dwight Landreneau, the head of the La. Depart. of Wildlife and Fisheries, got on television and remarked that his agency had things under control and citizen help was not needed. Apparently, Sheriff Lee did not agree with that assessment and had one of his deputies provide the Lafayette flotillia with an escort into Jefferson Parish.

Sheriff Lee and Senator Gautreaux - 1000 of Louisiana's citizens responded to your pleas for help. We were prevented from helping by Dwight Landreneau's agency, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. When I learned that Charity Hospital has not been evacuated and that no one has been there to attempt a rescue, I became angry.

The "turf-marking" by some minor state agency should never take priority over the lives of citizens!

Bewildered and Frustrated,
Jason Robideaux
Attorney At Law
1005 Lafayette Street
Lafayette, La. 70501
(337) 291-9444 office

-- Wildlife and Fisheries Did Nothing While People Suffered, by Jason Robideaux

New Orleans Deputy Chief Kirk Bouyelas

Another major problem was the collapse of our communication system. Our communications infrastructure was well above the floodwaters. However, debris and glass shards coming off the surrounding buildings severed a water line that served to cool the generators and other electrical equipment. So we lost communication, and basically ended up with individual groups of officers who were operating independently of one another. That went on for days, and it created a lot of problems. Communication is critical in this type of event, and without it our efforts were not unified. Moreover, even if the communications system hadn’t been disabled by the hurricane, we still would have had some communication issues, because a lot of officers’ radios became inoperable after getting wet. We also had scores of police officers who came in from other areas of the country, and we had major interoperability issues. We tried to pair up out-of-town officers with our officers, but that proved to be rather challenging too.

NBC MEET THE PRESS, TIM RUSSERT: Vice-President Broussard, you just heard the director of homeland security's explanation of what has happened this last week. What is your reaction?

JEFFERSON PARISH PRESIDENT, AARON BROUSSARD: We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast. But the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history. I am personally asking a bipartisan Congressional delegation here in Louisiana to immediately begin Congressional hearings to find out just what happened here. Why did it happen? Who needs to be fired? And believe me, they need to be fired right away. Because we still have weeks to go in this tragedy. We have months to go. We have years to go. And whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chainsawed off and we've got to start with some new leadership.

It's not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now.

It's so obvious. FEMA needs more congressional funding. It needs more presidential support. It needs to be a cabinet level director. It needs to be an independent agency that will be able to fulfill its mission to work in partnership with state and local governments around America. FEMA needs to be empowered to do the things it was created to do. It needs to come to somewhere like New Orleans with all of its force immediately, without red tape, without bureaucracy. Act immediately with common sense and leadership. And save lives. Forget about the property. We can rebuild the property. It's gotta be able to come in and save lives. We need strong leadership at the top of America right now in order to accomplish this and to reconstructing FEMA.

RUSSERT: Shouldn't the mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility? Shouldn't they have been much more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area?

BROUSSARD: Sir, they were told, like me, every single day, the calvary's coming on a federal level. The calvary's coming, the calvary's coming, the calvary's coming. I have just begun to hear the hooves of the calvary. The calvary is still not here yet. But I've begun to hear the hooves, and we're almost a week out.

Let me just give you just three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn't need them. This was a week ago. FEMA, we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said come get the fuel right away. When we got there with our trucks, they got the word, FEMA says don't give you the fuel. Yesterday - yesterday - FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says no one is getting near these lines." Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America, if our American government would have responded like Walmart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.

But I want to thank Governor Blanco for all she's done, and all the leadership, she sent in the National Guard. I just repaired a breach on my side of the 17th Street Canal that the Secretary didn't foresee, a 300 foot breach, I just completed it yesterday with convoys of National Guard and local parish workers and levy board people. It took us 2-1/2 days working 24/7. I just closed it.

I'm telling you, most importantly I want to thank my public employees that have worked 24/7. They're burned out, the doctors, the nurses, and I want to give you one last story and then I'll shut up and tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I'm in, the Emergency Management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard Nursing Home, and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, mama, somebody's coming to get you ... Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday ... Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday ... Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday ... Somebody's coming to get you on Friday," and she drowned Friday night. She drowned on Friday night. Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The Secretary has promised. Everybody has promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God's sake, shut up and send us somebody.

RUSSERT: Take a pause Mr. President while you gather yourself. These are emotional times, I understand.

-- FEMA Turned Back Water/Fuel, Cut N.O. Communications Lines, by

After the Katrina disaster, we rewrote our emergency preparedness plan. We tested that plan with Hurricane Gustav in 2008, and it worked much better than the old plan. Key to that plan was the successful evacuation of the vast majority of residents.

We’ve also changed several protocols based on the lessons learned during Katrina. One thing we do differently is the pre-staging of needed resources. We deploy “PODS” now—anticipated Points of Distribution for emergency supplies. So it’s much easier to get supplies out to the troops when they need them. We’ve also centralized our response and fully integrated NIMS (National Incident Management System). Before Katrina, the district commanders were in their districts, and the special operations people were scattered about. Now we bring everybody to several central locations which are tactically located and stage everything out of those locations.

Training is also a big part of what we do now. We did not do a good job of disaster training prior to Katrina. Now we have yearly tabletop exercises, and all of the command staff participates. We’ve also incorporated disaster preparation into the in-service training given to our officers.

Former FEMA Director R. David Paulison:
Hurricane Katrina Taught FEMA to be Proactive

Dave Paulison was appointed director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in September 2005, replacing the embattled Michael Brown in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Former FEMA Director Dave Paulison

I think the biggest change since Hurricane Katrina is a renewed commitment on the part of the federal government to being proactive instead of reactive. During Katrina, we lacked buses and supplies to evacuate people. The emergency management community didn’t have evacuation plans in place or shelters. We didn’t have plans to take care of people in wheelchairs, the elderly, or anyone else who could need special assistance to leave the city. We also did not have adequate communication between the states. When we reversed the flow of traffic on a highway, the whole system backed up once traffic crossed into another state.

New Orleans, Louisiana (AHN) - Apparently suffering from stress and a bit of paranoia, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin tells CNN Saturday night that he believes the CIA will "wipe him out" after his criticism of President Bush and the Federal Government in response to Hurricane Katrina.

Mayor Nagin seemed to have calmed down after meeting with President Bush for two hours on Friday but became stressed again over the current situation still unfolding in his city.

The Mayor has come under serious scrutiny and criticism in the last 72 hours after photos of parking lots filled with school buses that were sitting in a foot of water were released on the Internet. Many critics of the Mayor and Gov. Blanco say the buses could have saved an estimated 20,000 people if they had been used for emergency evacuations which President Bush had declared two days before Katrina hit.

Nine stockpiles of fire-and-rescue equipment strategically placed around the country to be used in the event of a catastrophe still have not been pressed into service in New Orleans, CNN reports Saturday night. Responding to a CNN inquiry, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Marc Short said Friday, "The gear has not been moved because none of the governors in the hurricane-ravaged area has requested it."

A federal official says the department's Office for Domestic Preparedness reminded the Louisiana and Mississippi Governors' offices about the stockpiles on Wednesday and Thursday, but neither governor had requested it.

-- New Orleans Mayor: "CIA Will Wipe Me Out", by Douglas Maher

Those experiences taught us to be much more proactive from the federal side. We need to have hundreds, if not thousands, of ambulances and adequate evacuation equipment prepositioned. Both federal and state governments need to work with the local communities to ensure that shelters are in place and evacuation plans are made.

Today, New Orleans is light years ahead of where they were at Katrina. They have done an outstanding job applying the lessons learned.

When Hurricane Gustav hit New Orleans in 2008, the improvements in preparedness were evident. Nobody had to use the Superdome as an emergency shelter; there was no one in the street. We used the military to evacuate bedridden people out of hospitals into Houston. Buses were there to transport people to shelters. It was a tremendously effective system in which the local agencies, the parishes, the state, and the federal government all worked as a team.

One way to think about it is to realize that if your system is ready to respond to an event, and if you have an all-hazards approach, emergencies like the bridge collapse in Minneapolis may happen suddenly and unexpectedly, but there really are no “unplanned” events.

FEMA offers a course at our Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Maryland, called the Integrated Emergency Management Course. It is a four-day course to assess a city’s specific emergency management needs and create a customized plan for that city. All the decision-makers from a city should be present, including the mayor, the police chief, fire, EMS personnel, and others who make decisions in a crisis. The course will take up to 70 people from a city. Oklahoma City went through the course right before the 1995 bombing. New Orleans went through it recently. It’s a tremendous course.

Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Rob Allen:
Our Response to the 2007 Bridge Collapse Hinged on Relationships with Nearby Agencies

Chief Rob Allen discussed the Minneapolis Police Department’s response to the collapse of the Interstate 35 bridge in Minneapolis in August 2007. Thirteen people died in the incident, and 150 were taken to hospitals, 50 with critical injuries. The bridge collapsed at 6:05 p.m., during the evening rush hour; approximately 120 vehicles were on the bridge at the time.

Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Rob Allen

With unplanned events, the challenges are that they can happen very suddenly, you have to be able to adapt to changing circumstances, and initially you may not even know exactly what you are dealing with. At first we didn’t know whether the bridge collapse was merely a failure of infrastructure or an act of terrorism. So in addition to being a rescue and recovery event, it also was a large investigative event.

It’s important to have relationships with the immediately adjacent police departments and other emergency response agencies that can send personnel to the scene quickly. I called the St. Paul Police Department, and we didn’t need to start at square one because we had an existing relationship, so everyone knew what capabilities the other agencies had. They just asked, “What do you need?”

We didn’t have all the resources we needed pre-staged before the bridge collapse. But we did get some important help because of some pre- planning with Target Corporation, which is headquartered in Minneapolis. During the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005, Minneapolis had sent a task force of about 80 of our officers down to New Orleans to help. And when our people came back home, some people at Target Corporation said they wanted to meet with us about it.

So we met, and the Target officials asked, “What types of supplies did you need to sustain yourselves when you were in New Orleans? What were the types of things that your officers needed that would have been challenging to get otherwise?”

So Target took it upon themselves to put together a semi-trailer truck, which they parked on a campus just north of Minneapolis, filled with pallets of water, Gatorade, food, tables, chairs, flashlights, batteries, generators, safety glasses, gloves, vests, sunscreen, and other supplies. When the bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, Target Corporation called and about 40 minutes later I had that semi truck on the scene with all that equipment. We never saw a bill for it.

What the 1999 World Trade Organization Conference in Seattle Taught Police Executives

In November 1999, Seattle hosted the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, which attracted over 40,000 demonstrators. The event is remembered today for violent protests and a controversial police response. Many chiefs at the PERF Executive Session on Managing Major Events called the 1999 WTO a “wakeup call” regarding the dangers of mishandling mass demonstrations.

Seattle Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh shared his candid perspective on missteps made during the event, and described some of the changes that the Seattle Police Department has made since 1999.

Seattle Assistant Chief Paul Mc Donagh:
Today’s Approach Is Far Different from 1999

Mistakes Made

Looking back on the 1999 WTO conference, I think we were a little naïve going into the event. We had some very good intelligence on terrorism back then—not about Al Qaeda, but about ecoterrorists who were in town and actively engaged with the protests. There was information indicating that we were going to get a lot of people in Seattle. However, it had been years since protesters outside of DC had gathered numbers in the thousands. Intelligence fed our pre-planning, but the planning didn’t take everything we had, and we didn’t take heed of everything we did know. So at the last minute we did a lot of shuffling and trying to adjust to conditions, instead of having put reasonable contingency plans in place prior to the event.

Seattle Asst. Chief Paul Mc Donagh

For example, we knew that some people were making big claims in advance of the protests. They claimed we were going to have well over 50,000 people in the city. They were saying that ahead of time, but you had to go back to the Vietnam War protests of the 1970s to see demonstrating crowds that large. So many thought the protester groups were just bragging and trying to make a big show. But as we got closer and closer to the event, we realized that we were in fact going to have some big crowds, and that’s when we started trying to make adjustments.

Seattle PD didn’t do a good job of maintaining ingress and egress into the WTO venue itself, or maintaining secure perimeters as the event got going. We had a breach of security early one morning, which forced us to delay Opening Ceremonies at the convention center. For security reasons the whole complex had to be searched. While it was completed as rapidly as possible, it still delayed the start time.

We were partnering with other agencies for mutual aid, but not to the extent necessary. So at one point we had to put out a mutual aid “all call” in the State of Washington, meaning every available police officer who could obtain their agency’s approval was requested to respond to the City of Seattle to assist us.

Mutual aid has its benefits, but also its drawbacks, especially when it’s last-minute and the assisting officers haven’t been trained in our approach to crowd engagement. Use of force is a clear example. None of the high-profile excessive use-of-force cases involved Seattle police officers; however, SPD was responsible for the overall event. Also, a large amount of chemical munitions were deployed, sometimes ineffectively. They may have looked impressive on TV, but some were ineffective in dispersing crowds. Sometimes munitions canisters were deployed down the middle of the road, with protesters walking right past them two seconds after they opened. The overall impact was lost. Overall there were a number of tactical errors made.

Regarding Mutual Aid, we tried to assign Seattle PD officers to every mutual aid agency that came in, so we would have a direct conduit for communication. Unfortunately, we got too far behind the curve and started running out of SPD people. Some agencies were not deployed or did not have direct como with SPD.

Lessons Learned

Because of the WTO experience, we’ve changed the way we approach mutual aid preparation. Now we pre-train with our mutual aid agencies. We engage in regular regional training on crowd management, use of chemical munitions, and command and control issues.

We’ve also adjusted our crowd control strategy. We internalized the many lessons learned, including a more directed planning cycle, clear strategies and objectives to all involved, better logistical support for officers, and early professional but firm intervention with groups causing unsafe and illegal behavior in the crowd. We avoid using the “turtle shell” armor in the early stages unless necessary, and what we developed is a style that incorporates a number of options and action, where officers are in different uniforms, walking around and being part of the crowd, or in protective clothing. It’s harder to attack a police officer when your buddies are standing right next to them. And we are doing a lot more community outreach prior to planned events.

We are taking better advantage of technology to improve situational awareness on the ground for our commanders and supervisors. That means trying to get real-time pictures not only to the operations centers but to the commanders in the field. With the wireless systems we have now, we now have that ability.

One more thing we can utilize is a program called “Anti-Violence Teams.” This is a two-part option. We can assign plainclothes officers into the crowd to follow troublemakers. These plainclothes officers are supported by the uniformed personnel assigned to the event. Plainclothes people identify the people engaged in illegal activity or displaying a weapon, and the commander can deploy their uniformed personnel to go in and grab the bad guys and remove them from the crowd. It’s a targeted approach to address those who are violating the law or endangering the public, protesters or police. While not always used, this option provides another tool to on-site commanders to address troublemakers without trying to stop a peaceful protest or demonstration.

Recommendations/Lessons Learned

• Have an all-hazards approach in place to deal with any emergency or unplanned event.
• Revise and update all emergency plans on a regular basis.
• Train your personnel regularly so they know what their responsibilities are and what protocols to follow in the event of an emergency.
• Pre-stage materials and equipment that will be needed in an emergency (e.g., water, food, flashlights, batteries, first aid equipment, gloves, vests, extra clothing, etc.).
• Before a natural disaster or other emergency occurs, develop personal relationships with officials of local public safety agencies (fire, EMS, hospital representatives, other law enforcement agencies, etc.), local businesses, community organizations (faith-based groups, neighborhood organizations), and government officials (mayors, city managers, county executives, state and federal government representatives, etc.). If you have pre-existing relationships with key officials and have discussed contingencies and plans in advance, you will be better able to contact them and obtain assistance quickly when an emergency occurs.
• Have a communications plan and back-up plans in place so that interagency communication is not disrupted. In particular, plan for how you will communicate effectively with other agencies that come to your aid.
Consider the FEMA Emergency Management Institute’s Integrated Emergency Management Course for city leaders to help prepare a specific response plan for your city.
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Postby admin » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:14 am

CHAPTER 2: A “Softer” Approach to Crowd Management: The Vancouver Model

Vancouver Deputy Chief Doug LePard:
A Policy of Tolerance and Police Restraint Won Over Crowds At the 2010 Winter Olympics

We really have to thank our friends the Brits for the evolution of our crowd control tactics. They have a lot of experience dealing with hooligans at soccer games, and we were fortunate enough to have hired quite a few British police officers in the last 10 years, some of whom brought high-level crowd control skills, and they also had the contacts with trainers in Britain. We began changing our training, sending our Public Order Commanders to the UK, and also bringing British trainers to Vancouver to assist the Vancouver Police Department in training our members in a new style of crowd management, which was great preparation for the Winter Olympics.

Vancouver, BC Deputy Chief Doug LePard

With their input, we started developing what we call our “meet and greet” strategy. Instead of using riot officers in Darth Vader outfits, we aim to be totally engaged with the crowd. We were out there high- fiving, shaking hands, asking people how they’re doing, and telling the crowd that “We are here to keep you safe.” We have found that this creates a psychological bonding with the crowd that pays real dividends. It is very difficult to fight the police if you’ve just been friendly with some individual officers.

We police about 300 protests a year; Vancouver is a protest city, so we have extensive experience with crowd management. But the Olympics were something new for us in terms of the size of the event. The scale of the Olympics is hard for people to imagine, because it’s not a one-day event, it’s a 17-day event. It’s like having 17 consecutive Super Bowls.

When you’re planning a big event, especially for a medium-size department like ours of about 1,300 police officers, you need a long planning period because there are so many things that need to be put in place. For example, we decided to double the size of our mounted squad and increase the number of people who could do motorcycle escorts of VIPs. But you can’t just put an officer on a horse or a motorcycle the week before. We had to buy the horses, train the horses, and train the officers to ride the horses or handle the motorcycles at a very high level of proficiency, and teach them crowd control tactics.

At the 2010 Winter Olympics, the activists were out in full force; they came from all over the place. It’s worth remembering that most protesters are peaceful; only a very small number are criminals and agitators who smash windows, vandalize the corporate buildings, and so on. Our goal was to communicate this message to the bulk of the protesters: “We’re your friends. We are here to protect your right to protest. We will stand in harm’s way to protect your right to protest.”

On opening night we did have to draw a line in the sand, because the anarchists wanted to get into the opening ceremony, and we said there’s not a chance of that happening. The situation became fairly violent. Protesters were heaving barricades and rocks and sticks, and some were actually throwing marbles under the horses to try to cause them to lose their footing. They were spitting in the police officers’ faces—and remember, the officers were wearing soft uniforms with no helmets.

In short, the protesters were doing everything they could to provoke a harsh response from the police—but they did not get it.

After that incident on opening night, the media coverage became much more favorable. Reporters were saying, “Look at the abuse the police have put up with and the restraint they’ve shown, and they managed to defuse this.” A couple police officers were injured, but no protesters were injured or arrested.

The next day, the protesters staged a mini-riot and broke some windows, and we did deploy some cops in riot gear. But by then, there were only about 100 “black bloc” protesters [people who wear black clothing, scarves, ski masks, or other face-concealing items] plus about 100 peaceful protesters. The peaceful protesters didn’t want to be a part of what they had seen the night before. The crowds were totally with us. We made seven arrests that day and more later, and when we started making the arrests, the crowds were chanting “Go VPD, go VPD,” because we had built that credibility. After that, the violent groups were spent. A lot of them had booked hotel rooms only for a couple days, so they had to go back where they came from.

Part of our crowd control unit deployment is an evidence-gathering team, so that when we make arrests, we can ensure that we have proper documentation. This team was outfitted with a video camera on a pole, which they used to film as much as they could. We also assigned detectives to our crowd control unit, and they were responsible for coordinating all the reports and ensuring the quality of the investigative reports. They didn’t go home until those reports were done right. So no one could say, “We don’t know why those guys are in jail or who did what,” because the detectives were there to make sure that everything was done right.

Another thing I should mention is that we don’t call it a “riot squad” anymore. Now it’s the “crowd control unit.” The name helps to send a message about how we view the function of this unit.

After those first few days, our main job became managing celebratory crowds. These were outbursts of patriotism among happy people, so in that sense it’s an easier job for us. Still, it’s a big task to manage crowds of hundreds of thousands of people coming into the entertainment zone. The streets were packed so densely that people literally could not move, and the intersections clogged up. Our crowd management units were out in force in soft gear. They are very well trained to maintain a high level of visibility, and they were engaged with the public. We very much won the crowds over. We were part of the celebration. The news media gave us good marks in their editorials, saying things like the Vancouver Police Department deserved a gold medal for policing the Olympics.

We had no lawsuits brought against us after the Games. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) had about 300 “legal observers” in bright orange shirts videotaping us, and afterwards, the head of the BCCLA, to his credit, said that the observers didn’t witness a single incident of civil rights abuse. We had one formal complaint, and that was from a woman who was upset that we wouldn’t let her into a popular tourist exhibit after hours. That was the only complaint that we had.

There were some instigators who tried to spread the word that the police were going to sweep the streets of homeless people and restrict protesters to designated “protest pens,” and the news media coverage included these allegations. But we just kept proactively going to the public in a non-offensive way to explain what we were really doing. We kept telling everyone, “We aren’t going to sweep the streets of homeless people or protesters. We will protect your right to protest and you can protest anywhere you like outside the venues. We are here to protect you.” We had our homeless coordinator out there well before the Games started. Very few of the homeless had to move because of the fence lines. We were working with the homeless to get them into housing and to create a relationship with them.

So none of those accusations came to pass. It was really a credit to our crowd control unit members, who put up with an incredible amount of abuse during the first days. Their patience and restraint served as credits in the “credit jar,” and the end result was that the policing of the 2010 Winter Olympics was a big success story.

New Orleans Deputy Police Chief Kirk Bouyelas:
Arrests Are a Last Resort When Policing Mardi Gras

We look at Mardi Gras as an annual pre-planned disaster [laughter]. Presently, we are at about 1,500 total sworn officers. We’re down a couple hundred from where we were prior to Hurricane Katrina. And while we do bring in some State Troopers for Mardi Gras, we use every single police officer in the department for some type of Mardi Gras mission.

Mardi Gras has two distinct components: the parades, which are a family event and much easier to police; and the French Quarter, which is seen as an “adult event” and is much harder to police because of the large crowds, drinking and general atmosphere. For managing the French Quarter, one of the things we’ve found is that vehicles and pedestrians don’t mix. You have to take the vehicles out of the equation, so everything becomes a pedestrian walkway. That’s why we block off traffic in the French Quarter every year. We deploy officers on walking beats, and we use bicycles, scooters, horses, and just recently, some Segways.

EMS is another critical component of what we do, because people in the crowds sometimes need medical services. People may fall, get into a scuffle or have some type of medical condition. We have EMS personnel deployed on bicycles and in golf carts. They also work with officers and we find that it’s much easier for them to navigate through the crowds that way.

The aspect of our event management strategy that has made Mardi Gras and other large events a success is our interaction with the crowds. For the most part, people are out there to have a good time, so we don’t use a heavy-handed approach. While we prepare for the worst and do actively stage riot gear, etc., we don’t deploy it unless the need arises. We prefer to use a combination of plainclothes officers and uniformed officers in the crowd.

Engaging the crowd is a huge asset and proven strategy for us. And we also employ a lot of discretion. If someone is not infringing on the good times of another person, then we don’t take the heavy-handed approach and enforce minor infractions. If people get into a scuffle, we try to break it up and separate them. During Mardi Gras, arrests are a last resort for us.

Recommendations/Lessons Learned

• Planning takes time, especially if you need additional personnel and resources. Policies and procedures need to be established in advance, and agencies must account for training time.
• If possible, shut down vehicle access to streets with high pedestrian traffic.
• Have officers on foot or on bicycles, motorcycles, Segways, and/or horseback to meet crowd control needs.
• Avoid using riot gear unless necessary, but keep it available.
• Allow officers to exercise discretion in regard to arrests. Decide ahead of time which behaviors will or will not be tolerated.
• Explain your role to the crowd and outline your expectations for their behavior.
o Most protesters are peaceful; don’t allow a small group of instigators to provoke an aggressive response from officers.
o Be proactive by reaching out to the public or influential community groups beforehand to inform them of your planned activities during an event.
• Use the “meet and greet” strategy.
o Engage the crowd in a friendly, non-confrontational manner.
o Make sure the police are highly visible in “soft” gear and uniforms.
o Befriending the crowd can act as a force multiplier for police.
EMS personnel can partner with officers during an event to provide medical services quickly and efficiently.
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Postby admin » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:18 am

CHAPTER 3: Policing Sporting Events and Celebratory Crowds

Preparing for the Aftermath of Game 7 of the NBA Finals

In 2010, the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers met in the National Basketball Association Finals. The series culminated in a winner-take-all Game 7 at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Police in Los Angeles as well as Boston had to be prepared for large celebratory crowds as well as the possibility of disturbances or riots. LAPD Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon and Boston Superintendent-in-Chief Dan Linskey shared their experiences from that night and the lessons they have learned managing crowds after major sporting events.

LAPD Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon: During Game 7, I was in a command post a few blocks away from the Staples Center. The Lakers have had a lot of success over the last few years, so we’ve had a lot of practice dealing with celebratory crowds. The weeks leading up to the Finals are always a test for us, because we have to get our deployment strategy straight going into this type of event. We deploy approximately 500 officers around the Staples Center and the surrounding neighborhoods to deal with a championship game. In 2010, in addition to those 500 officers, we also brought up seven mobile field forces.

Los Angeles Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon

I was actually rooting for the Celtics to win, because if the Lakers lose a championship game, then the aftermath is a non-issue in Los Angeles. That has generally been the rule. People are disappointed, but no one riots. Our problem comes when the Lakers win. In those cases, the problem isn’t the 20,000 or so fans coming out of the Staples Center. They are generally just trying to get to their cars so they can go home. However, there is a large entertainment complex right across the street from the Staples Center that attracts a lot of people. When the games get into the fourth quarter and it appears the Lakers are going to win, we get a tremendous influx of people from surrounding neighborhoods and other parts of the city and the county to take part in the celebration, and that’s what has created the problems for us.

Boston Superintendent in Chief Daniel Linskey: Boston’s history of managing championship celebrations has not been good. Some careers in the Police Department have been damaged because the department did not order enough resources or because of violent incidents in the crowd. In 2004, a woman who was not involved in any of the bottle-or rock- throwing was killed by a less-lethal weapon.

Boston Superintendent-in-Chief Daniel Linskey

Given that history with major sporting events, it was interesting to have the Red Sox go to the World Series, the Patriots go to the Super Bowl, and the Celtics win the NBA Finals as soon as I took this job. I’m still here, so I guess I did OK.

We have gotten much better at crowd control. Our planning staff went to the cops on the street and asked what they needed. That’s how we developed our plan. We are still refining and improving.

Just like in Los Angeles, the fans coming out of the TD Garden arena aren’t a problem. However, all the downtown entertainment centers are packed with people, and suddenly there are tens of thousands of people who want to stand in the streets and celebrate. They want to be near the event. We’ve urged bars to close up their windows. We also clear the streets at halftime to prevent loitering outside.

It’s crucial to have police officers who can talk to the crowd and don’t get nervous. I had a sergeant with only 12 officers clear a Red Sox celebration of 15,000 drunk, hollering college kids, simply by having conversations with them and encouraging them to go home. If you treat people with respect, they can be the eyes and ears for police in case people start throwing bottles and rocks. The crowd begins to police itself. And that sergeant did more than a public order platoon could in terms of moving that crowd. Once the turtle gear comes out, it puts the crowd in the mindset that there’s going to be a fight, and then everyone gathers around to either participate or watch the fight.

One of the signs that a crowd is getting out of hand is the presence of fire. As soon as they start lighting things on fire, you have to get a handle on it quickly, because it’s almost like it triggers a primeval instinct. People just start going wild and it builds.

We learned an important lesson about combating fires from the first Patriots Super Bowl in 2002. Someone pulled a fire alarm, but the streets were filled with 20,000 people. The fire department pulled up in a truck and I told them, “You can’t go down there, and if you do, I won’t be able to get you out.” And they said, “No, we have to go; this is what we do.” Needless to say, after the truck pulled into the crowd, I got a call saying that the crowd was trying to flip the truck over. And it turned out that there was no fire; it was a false fire alarm.

So now we have embedded fire units. Often you don’t need a big truck to come in. A chief with a fire extinguisher can put a small fire out, and that calms down the crowd. After that, you can talk to people about moving along and grab the guy who started the fire.

London Metropolitan Police Service Inspector Philip Chatwin:
Planning for the 2012 Olympics Is a Massive Undertaking

Metropolitan Police Service Inspector Philip Chatwin discussed London’s ongoing preparations for the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Inspector Chatwin has been involved in Olympic planning since 2006.

Our team’s primary role at this point is to ensure that the police and other key security agencies are giving the best possible advice to the Olympic Delivery Authority, which is responsible for building the new venues, and to the Olympic Organizing Committee.

London MPS Inspector Philip Chatwin

The major objective of our work is to make sure that the Olympic venues will be safe and secure come 2012. At the moment we are working to make sure that we’re designing the physical security of the venues in the most efficient ways possible. That way, when the games begin, we can get the most out of every officer and reduce the overall deployment of police officers and security guards.

The size and scale of the games are really quite phenomenal. The security budget handed to the Olympic Security Directorate is just under $1 billion. That budget has to provide for all the additional planning and the operational policing that will take place during the games. There will be over 20,000 international media representatives and broadcasters present. There will be over 10,000 athletes representing 200 nations, all in front of a worldwide television audience of 4 billion people.

Risk and Threat Assessment

Our work starts with risk assessment. Because the planning process began four years out, we’ve had to make some key assumptions about potential threats. We have created a grading system of five levels for threats. All our planning takes place under the assumption that the level will be “Severe.”

We have received a huge amount of useful advice from past Olympic hosts. Our visits to Atlanta and other host sites provided some absolutely key lessons. For example, regarding screening of people as they come into the venues, the demands of a high-threat sporting event like the Olympics are different from the models used in other situations. Visits to Atlanta and other host sites gave us some crucial insights into how to plan these systems. The fact that we know that certain methods have been successful in the past gives us confidence, both in the technology and the effectiveness of the process, in reducing threat levels.

LAPD Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon: I agree with Dan about the fire units. That is exactly the tactic we were able to use. And we were able to train some police officers in fire suppression. You have to be proactive. We actually had officers with fire extinguishers assigned to our suppression team to put out small fires and make quick arrests. They infiltrate the crowd with undercover officers, with uniformed support off to the side, ready to go in and grab the agitators as they throw bottles or rocks. As soon as you take that kind of proactive action, it takes all of the bravado out of the crowd.

Crowds celebrating a sporting event are different from political demonstrators. You need to be proactive. If you just line up police officers as a wall against the crowd during a sports celebration, you’re going to have problems.

Chicago Assistant Deputy Superintendent Steve Georgas:
We Would Have Preferred a Larger Venue For the Stanley Cup Victory Parade

This is an overhead picture of the rally celebrating the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory in 2009. The parade started at the United Center and went down Washington Boulevard to Michigan Avenue, where it ended at the Chicago River with a rally at the stage. From a public safety standpoint, we argued to host this in Grant Park, Millennium Park or Butler Field. We asked, “Why are we doing this in a canyon of buildings?”

Chicago Asst. Deputy Superintendent Steve Georgas

About 1.2 or 1.3 million people attended the rally, and because we were limited on where we could get resources, we ended up policing it with only about 450 officers and 20 horses. Thankfully, we got through it, but we felt lucky that we didn’t have a disaster such as a mass stampede or a child being crushed in the crowd. Eventually we had no choice but to let the crowd take the streets to release the pressure of the crowd wedged in between the iron barricades and the buildings.

Many cities are talking about disbanding their mounted patrol for budgetary reasons. These pictures are worth a thousand words. The TV coverage of the horses moving in and managing the crowd was priceless. Mounted patrols are the greatest thing for this kind of event.

Rally celebrating the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory in 2009

Recommendations/Lessons Learned

• Know your community and the type of crowd you are managing. Make sure you have the appropriate personnel interacting with them. Use officers who won’t be rattled and can engage the crowd respectfully.
• Identify areas where you expect crowds to gather and plan your resources accordingly.
• Consider clearing the streets prior to a championship game ending.
• Reach out to businesses in the affected areas for help. (Example: Ask area restaurants and bars to close early or stop selling alcohol at a certain time.)
• Being friendly with the participants can win them over, and they can become your eyes and ears for responding to unruly fans.
• Fire can be a catalyst for bad crowd behavior. Work with the fire department to get training for your officers, and consider employing embedded fire units during the event.
• Using mounted patrol for crowd control is very effective during large- scale demonstrations.
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Postby admin » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:20 am

CHAPTER 4: A Candid Assessment of the National Incident Management System

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a nationally used framework for governmental and nongovernmental agencies to coordinate their response to unplanned events. NIMS was developed in 2004 and has been adopted by federal agencies for use in incident management and disaster prevention. The federal government also recommends its use for all municipalities and public safety agencies.

Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier: We use NIMS in Washington. It’s a good system. It clarifies roles, which is especially helpful when you’re managing multiple sites and multiple incidents. But I think it has to be adapted to your law enforcement agency. You have to employ it with some additional elements. For example, we need a component for processing intelligence.

Washington, DC MPD Chief Cathy Lanier

Minneapolis Deputy Chief Rob Allen: I think NIMS works really well for unplanned events. We used it when the I-35 bridge collapsed in 2007. However, I agree that it needs to be modified for law enforcement. The fact that it does not include an investigations branch drives me crazy, so we created one. Many major events have investigative components, so for us that was a sensible reform.

We found that NIMS is not always the last word during the Republican National Convention in 2008. When the Secret Service came in to organize the convention as a National Special Security Event (NSSE), they told us that they have their own way of doing things for NSSEs.

Secret Service Deputy Assistant Director David O’Connor: I won’t argue with you on that. We’ve found that NIMS is geared toward helping agencies react to a situation. But when we’re managing an NSSE, the whole planning phase—the months and months of round tables and everything else we do—is designed to prevent ever having to be reactive to an event. For us, it’s all about prevention.

St. Paul, Minnesota Senior Commander Joe Neuburger: I think the Secret Service does use something like NIMS; they just call it “Subcommittees” and it evolves into NIMS.

However, the one comment that I have for the Secret Service is that it doesn’t have logistics as one of its subcommittees. We ended up playing catch-up on logistics at the Republican convention in 2008. For example, we know that if you don’t have bullets and beans, then you can’t arm and feed your soldiers. If you don’t have available water and a functional break system, police officers can’t stay on post indefinitely. If we had had a logistics section early on in our planning, we could have dealt with issues like that.

Philadelphia Commissioner Charles Ramsey: I think NIMS is a very good framework as you begin your planning. It’s a valuable checklist that you can use for plans, logistics, and operational planning, or even investigative capacity. We’ve been able to fold investigations into operations, so if that’s something you need, then that’s where it fits.

You have to flesh it out. It’s not going to be perfect. It’s going to be driven by the particular event and what the needs are, but NIMS is a useful start. If you’re in a jurisdiction that handles a lot of these major events, you’ll already know much of what NIMS covers. But there are a lot of jurisdictions where the local public safety agencies don’t often encounter these situations, and NIMS can be very valuable for them.

And it’s the little stuff that kills you when managing these events. How do you feed your people on post? It’s not like you can give everyone a half-hour break when you’re in the middle of a protest. It just doesn’t work that way. So you’ve got to figure things like that out, and when you go through NIMS and ask the right questions, you start to prepare in an entirely different way. So I think it’s a good framework. It’s not perfect, but nothing is. You have to adjust it to make it fit your particular needs.

Former FEMA Director Dave Paulison: Commissioner Ramsey really nailed it. Down in Miami we get the Super Bowl about every four years, and we always use the NIMS system to plan for it. It helps ensure that you don’t forget anything. It’s very organized. Having NIMS and using it on a regular basis make it easier to plan for an event or respond to a catastrophe. During Hurricane Katrina when I took over FEMA, one of the things that I found out was that the federal government did not have any system for sharing information between Cabinet Secretaries. That was one of the major failures, and it was reflected from top to bottom. At the federal level we had a lot of resistance to implementing NIMS from some of those Cabinet members. It finally took President Bush to put his foot down and say, “We’re going to put this in place.”

Washington, D.C. MPD Chief Cathy Lanier: I actually think NIMS is most important for planning, not just response. The subcommittee issue is right on point. For the Secret Service during the Inauguration and the 18 months of planning for it, we set it up so that each of our subcommittees reports out its needs to the NIMS coordinators for planning, logistics, and operations. So the subcommittees work as they’ve always worked; there’s no need to change that. It works well because when we go into our operations on game day, the commanders and key people running those operations have been involved in the planning all along. So I actually think it’s more effective for planning than for just reacting to a major incident.

Detroit Chief Ralph Godbee: I agree with Cathy and Chuck Ramsey. In Detroit we hosted the World Series, Super Bowl, and All-Star Game during a short span in 2005. NIMS was critical for our planning process, especially for the Super Bowl. To use a sports adage, the way you practice is the way you play. It was a template for us. It showed us how to bring all the resources to the table. When you need to adjust barricades, it’s very helpful to have someone from public works sitting with you in the command post. I ran a command post as a deputy chief and I really don’t think we could have gotten through all of the minor issues if we hadn’t had that NIMS model in place.

The practice exercises that you do with major stakeholders and resources are another important planning component. The more you do your emergency exercises within the NIMS system, the better prepared you are when unplanned events occur. Even within planned events, you have unplanned events. Just mapping out those contingencies and playing the “what if ” game really helped us get through some major events without incident.

Los Angeles Captain Philip Fontanetta: NIMS has resource typing, which standardizes the terminology for different resources such as air support, mobile forces, bomb squads, and dive teams. This is particularly helpful for mutual aid, because if you request a Type 1 mobile field force, you know you’re going to get the elements you need, such as less-lethal munitions and tear gas capability. You know the package someone’s going to give you, so instead of getting 50 police officers with wooden sticks and riot helmets, you get a functional crowd control squad. Resource typing is a useful tool for when you’re requesting mutual aid.

Los Angeles Capt. Philip Fontanetta

University of Wisconsin Chief Sue Riseling: Obviously our scale is very different because there’s no agency in Wisconsin outside of Milwaukee that can deal with major events on its own. So if we have an event like a Presidential visit or a visiting foreign dignitary, we have to take advantage of mutual aid. NIMS gives us a common nomenclature that we all understand. As Captain Fontanetta said, we all know that when we ask for something specific, we’re going to get what we asked for. That’s a great help.

NIMS is also helpful regarding communications with non-law enforcement agencies. We have an emergency operations center that includes our transportation people, our folks who run the network and information systems, our public works people, and they all know NIMS. So if you go to the Director of Housing, he’s in the NIMS system and he knows exactly what to plug in and what his role is. NIMS has given us a vocabulary and a way of talking and organizing ourselves when planning events. We’ve proliferated NIMS not only through our law enforcement and fire service, but throughout the institution, the city, and our county.

Indianapolis Public Safety Director Frank Straub:
Responding to an Unplanned Event During a Planned Event
I’ve been very impressed by the quality of work in Indianapolis. Everybody checks their egos at the door.

Indianapolis Director of Public Safety Frank Straub

With every event, regardless of the size, we’re planning for the particular event, but in effect we’re also practicing for “the big one” that might happen unexpectedly.

In Indianapolis, the Indy 500 brings 200,000 to 300,000 people into the city every year. And the biggest planned event that we will do is the Super Bowl in 2012.

We’re also one of the few cities in the country that has one of the remaining Greek weeks. For us it’s called Black Expo. Black Expo brings in a large crowd, and this past summer we had a shooting right in the middle of the event. There were 10 victims. It was a one-on-one gang fight, but there were a lot of stray bullets. It happened right in the middle of downtown, in the midst of 300 police officers. There were three or four thousand people on the street at the time of the shooting. As soon as it happened, everyone ran. But the officers did an incredible job of keeping everyone calm, controlling egress, and then freezing the area around the incident. We use NIMS very aggressively, and thanks to unified command we had EMS personnel, fire paramedics and EMTs treating victims within a minute of the shooting.

When we do our big events, they involve police, fire, EMS, and the FBI. We partner with the Secret Service and we have the National Guard there, and we just practice, practice. We’re going to stand up a completely unified operations center. During the 2012 Super Bowl, we will have a forward operations center in Lucas Oil Stadium, which we are just completing now. Anyone who has a role in the safety/security or operations surrounding a major event will have a seat in the Lucas Oil Stadium operations center. In addition to the forward stadium-based operations/command center, all major events will be managed in our new Regional Operations Center which is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2011.

Recommendations/Lessons Learned

• Participants agreed that NIMS works well as a unifying structure for emergency response.
• NIMS can be used by a variety of agencies such as police, fire, EMS, public works, housing, and others to organize the planning process and ensure that all participants are using the same terminology.
• Although NIMS is intended to be used for responding to an incident or unplanned event, it can also be used in planning prior to an event.
o NIMS can be a useful framework for thinking through the planning process.
o NIMS can be tailored to fit your agency, needs or event. (For example, you can create an investigations or intelligence component to better tailor the structure to the needs of law enforcement.)
o NIMS can be particularly useful in clarifying roles and planning for an event’s logistics and operations.
Practice exercises with major stakeholders and resources in advance of an event can be very helpful.
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Postby admin » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:23 am

CHAPTER 5: Working with Multiple Agencies: Who’s in Charge?

Often, multiple public safety agencies— each with their own personnel, policies, and vocabulary— must work together seamlessly to manage an event. Participants at PERF’s summit shared their advice and experiences on coordinating with partner agencies.

Atlanta Chief George Turner:

Having Multiple Joint Operations Centers Can Cause Confusion

The biggest challenge I see in our city is that we have multiple joint operations centers in our city during an event. The city of Atlanta also resides in a county, so there is a joint Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management System. There is the Georgia Emergency Management System. And then there’s the event operations center. So where are the decisions being made?

Atlanta Chief George Turner

Philadelphia Commissioner Charles Ramsey:
The Question Is, Who Is in Charge of What?”

I think you have to define the question as who’s in charge of what. Responsibilities need to be very clear. As an example, if you want to use a particular street, you have to know who is in charge of maintaining that street so it doesn’t become overwhelmed with people. A specific agency must have that responsibility, and all the agencies working along with them to clear that street should fall under the responsible agency’s chain of command.

I think that part of the problem is that people like the idea of appointing a czar, a single person who has enormous authority over everything. But that’s not how things work in reality. It’s really about who is in charge of what.

Even if there is more than one operation center, as long as they are connected and there is a good flow of information and clarity in terms of each operation center’s mission, then you should be fine. You need to know who is the “go-to person” if there is a problem with the phone system, or the streets, or any given contingency. The roles need to be clarified. I think that’s what is missing sometimes in the planning process. That’s also where egos and turf get involved, but you’ve got to be clear on those responsibilities.

U.S. Secret Service Deputy Assistant Director David O’Connor:
Professional Relationships Between Agency Leaders Help Clarify Roles

This is an issue we have a lot of experience with in Washington, D.C. The key for us, especially during the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, was that the Multiagency Command Center (MAC) included everything—every relevant agency plus the phone company, the water, electricity, and cable utilities, etc. There were senior representatives who had to be involved in all of the planning phases and report to the chief. Our Director and the FBI are all in the MAC. Everyone is co- located, so all the information is brought into one location.

U.S. Secret Service Dep. Asst. Director David O’Connor

Like Chief Turner, we have to deal with the question of, “Who is in charge?” That’s the first question a Senator will ask when Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer, MPD Chief Cathy Lanier, and I testify together before Congress. The reality is that if we’re at the Capitol, then the Capitol Police and Sergeant at Arms are in charge. If we’re in metropolitan D.C., there are clearly defined roles for MPD. But everything is dependent upon the relationships that have been formed in advance of an event. If you haven’t established those relationships and that ability to work together through table top exercises, then you’re in trouble.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse:
The Biggest Challenge Is Getting Information to the Personnel on the Ground

During the 2009 Inauguration, there were many different events and venues that required multiple jurisdictions within the District of Columbia to provide security and first responders.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse

The biggest challenge at this type of large event is getting the information down to the people who have to execute the plan when unexpected changes occur. How do you reach out to the officers and first responders on the street, who are probably from 15 different police agencies, none of whom have the same types of radio communications?

For example, our original plan was that 1.8 million people would fit on the lawn of the National Mall, but the reality was that overflow blocked egress and access on streets around the Mall. So when you are executing a plan but it changes, who is going to get the information about those changes down to the officers in real time? It can be difficult, especially if you’re not all under the same communications system, and not under a single command that’s able to disseminate the information through the single communication system simultaneously.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC Chief Rodney Monroe:
There Should Be Decision-Makers On the Ground

I spent the majority of my career in Washington, D.C., where I helped oversee and manage the Million Man March and a Presidential Inauguration. I know that there is an overarching command center, but when you have those much smaller command centers on the ground, they can expedite the decision-making process. If the focus is one central command, there’s a delay in relaying directions to ground forces.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC Chief Rodney Monroe

I believe that someone in control should be on the ground, so they can assess the situation up close. Seeing and hearing the tenor of the crowd and determining the crowd’s attitude regarding a situation gives you a better opportunity to determine the best tactical method to deploy.

New York City Assistant Chief Harry Wedin:
Having All Decisions Come from the MAC Works

During the 2004 Republican National Convention, there were multiple command centers. We used fusion centers, but we made clear that everything had to go through the Multiagency Command Center. We had a representative in every command center from NYPD to make sure that the MAC was involved in every decision. And every decision would come from the MAC, from the deployment of personnel to moving personnel around to handling any incidents. We follow that rule all the time. If people start making independent decisions from different command centers, then nothing is coordinated and it becomes a big mess. We have found that once all information and decision-making comes through the MAC, it works.

New York City Asst. Chief Harry Wedin

Recommendations/Lessons Learned

• Establish relationships with the other stakeholders through tabletops and other pre-event exercises. This will help build your ability to work together during an event.
• Ensure that there is a constant flow of information between agencies and operation centers during the event.
• Clarify the roles of each agency in advance of the event. Establish clear and defined responsibilities, goals, and missions for each stakeholder. This also entails establishing who the ‘go-to’ people are in the event of different contingencies.
• In addition to asking “Who is in charge,” ask “Who is in charge of what?”
• Determine in advance how you will get information and decisions to the officers on the street in real time.
• If you use a Multiagency Command Center (MAC), consider requiring that all decisions come from the MAC during the execution of an event.
Recognize that while many decisions are made at command centers, it is also very important to deploy command staff members at the street level to assess events as they unfold and advise the command center.



1. Other resources on this topic provide detailed checklists and guidelines, such as the COPS Office’s Planning and Managing Security for Major Special Events: Guidelines for Law Enforcement (2007). Publications/e07071299_web.pdf.
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Postby admin » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:27 am

CHAPTER 6: Mutual Aid is Critical to Event Management in Mid-Size Cities

Most police departments do not have the resources to manage a major event on their own; they must rely on mutual aid, calling on departments throughout the region to lend personnel and other resources to manage the event.

However, mutual aid can raise difficult issues regarding coordination, training, and responsibilities.

Vail, CO Chief Dwight Henninger:
Establishing a Common Language Is Essential

We will be hosting the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships, which is one level below the Olympics, and we’re going to have to rely on mutual aid to make it work. If we agree in advance on a structure for that partnership, then we share a common language. Then, in the event of an unplanned incident, we can immediately understand how our different protocols can work together. I think we’re moving in the right direction on this major event.

Vail, CO Chief Dwight Henninger

Pasadena, CA Lieutenant Bruce George:
Annual Events Provide Opportunities to Learn from Your Mistakes

We have 250 sworn officers in our department. The Rose Bowl brings about 90,000 people to Pasadena every year. The local Sheriff’s Department helps us out on the parade ground the night before, and they do some of the work at the game. A lot of smaller cities also assign officers to work with us. And we have the Threat Assessment Response Team, which is made up of representatives from the FBI, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, and a number of other government agencies. We have a command center that’s a half-mile from the Rose Bowl, and that team is there all night and throughout the game. We have FBI officers working the parade route and monitoring the crowd. We also have them working the parking lots and inside the stadium.

Pasadena, CA Lt. Bruce George

We’re fortunate that this is an annual event, so we’re constantly learning from the years before. After each Rose Bowl, we do a lot of debriefing immediately afterwards, in which we discuss what worked and didn’t work. And the results show a lot of improvement over the years. When I started in the 1980s, we were making 600 arrests on the parade route; last year, we made 28 arrests. Now we know where the problems are likely to be. We know that gang members hang out at a certain intersection in the city on that night. We know that our entertainment district is where people loiter. People coming out of the bars can give us some problems. And we learn from our mistakes. One year we decided we were going to take all of the traffic off of the boulevard the day before. But all that did was allow people to go out into the streets, and they found newspaper racks to light on fire. So now we leave cars on the streets as part of our crowd control plan.

Prince William County, VA. Major Stephan Hudson:
Regional Special Events Training Would Help

Mutual aid is a huge part of what we do. We’re a relatively small agency in the big pond of the Washington, D.C. region. We have fewer than 600 sworn officers. The larger events that we deal with always require mutual aid.

Prince William County, VA Asst. Chief Stephan Hudson

Last week we had a protest when the extremist Westboro Baptist Church decided to protest at a high school and a Coast Guard recruiting station in our county, and we relied on assistance from state police and one of the cities inside our county. We’re accustomed to doing that; the mutual aid in the national capital region is very good. We also assist the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, the U.S. Park Police, and others with events that occur on a regular basis. It has become a routine part of our business. I think that the memoranda of understanding around the region have worked very well.

However, we’ve found that there is a lack of coordinated regional training, especially with regard to special events management. We’ve sent personnel to some small classes in Key West, Fla. and San Diego. But with all of the large agencies in the national capital region and all of the events that we deal with, I think there should be some organized regional training.

Toronto Superintendent Tom Russell:
We Used Online Training to Prepare 2,000 Officers for G-20 Protests

In Toronto, we needed about 2,000 additional officers from across Canada to come in and assist us with the 2010 G-20 protests. Immediately we had training issues. How do you train these officers if you can’t physically have them in the same room? We ran an online web-based program through the Canadian Police Knowledge Network. It helped us tremendously in terms of getting all the officers exposed to command and control systems, our use-of-force policies, professional standards issues, and crowd theory. We also trained another 5,000 officers internally.

Former Miami Chief John Timoney:
Mutual Aid Is Necessary, But It Has Significant Drawbacks

I came from New York City and Philadelphia, two big departments that didn’t need much outside assistance for managing big events. But Miami is a relatively small city and department. For the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) meeting in 2003, or for any of these types of big events, you need 3,000 to 3,500 officers or more. So you have to depend on mutual aid.

John Timoney, former Miami Police Chief and Philadelphia Police Commissioner

But mutual aid has its limits, especially for a chief. For instance, other agencies may not send you their best people. You may get the 50 officers that they want to give a week off. And the only way you have control over somebody is if you have the ability to discipline them. You can’t really discipline someone from another agency, so you don’t have the same kind of strong control that you have over your own officers.

That came home during FTAA. I made some promises that we wouldn’t use tear gas. But during the event, an officer from another department lobbed a tear gas canister into the crowd. There was nothing I could do about it. However, in the subsequent lawsuits I was held fully accountable. You’re the overall commander; it’s your responsibility. So in some ways, mutual aid is problematic.

Minneapolis Deputy Chief Rob Allen:
We Need Something Like the Emergency Management Assistance Compact For Planned Events as Well as Disasters

Chief Rob Allen discussed the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a Congressionally ratified organization that helps states provide mutual aid to each other during disasters such as hurricanes or terrorist attacks. EMAC is designed to help states resolve issues of liability and reimbursement upfront, so that aid can be provided quickly and efficiently when it is needed. (Further information is available at

I know that managing the 2008 Republican National Convention was difficult for the City of St. Paul, because they needed 4,000 to 5,000 officers, and there are only 10,000 cops in the entire state of Minnesota. So we brought in mutual aid from out of state, and that’s incredibly challenging. There’s a model for mutual aid called EMAC, and it works great for emergencies and natural disasters. It creates accountability for the out-of-state officers, because those officers are working for the state that they come from. But a planned event is not an emergency, and you can’t use EMAC as a means to deputize outside officers. Having something like EMAC for planned events would greatly simplify the difficulties of mutual aid.

NFL Chief Security Officer Jeff Miller:
From Law Enforcement to Private Security— An Insider’s Perspective on Game Day
During my prior life as commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, we were responsible for a number of large-scale events, and we supported the Philadelphia police during the 2000 Republican National Convention.

NFL Director of Strategic Security Programs Jeffrey Miller

When I first came to the NFL in 2008, the first Monday Night Football game I worked was in Oakland, California. We engaged well with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the Oakland Police Department. They are two excellent police agencies; they do a great job. We found that we needed to engage the crowd the very moment the fans turned into the lot. The first thing we want them to see is a uniformed law enforcement presence. You don’t need officers in turtle gear; you want to get the fans interacting with police. In the past we had a lot of police on the perimeter, but it was like Mad Max in the Thunderdome in the middle [laughter]. When fans got to the gate, they were already fired up, and we had problems with assaults on officers, and there was difficulty getting people through the gates safely.

Now we have police in the parking lot and in every aisle. The main thing we do is engage the fans from the beginning in a non-threatening way. We build camaraderie with the crowd, and we’re able to isolate the people who are there to cause problems.

We’ve had experience filming protest events, because you know you’re going to have litigation after the fact. By filming your interactions with protesters and having that video—and make sure you have your own videographers—you are better able to dispose of frivolous lawsuits.

Fortunately for us, after September 11th, the Super Bowl was given a National Special Security Event designation, and from that point forward we’ve always had a federal coordinator. The Secret Service and federal government provide a great many resources; there’s no way we could do the things we want to do without their assistance.

We have a set of best practices for stadium security that were developed soon after September 11th. In 2008 we received certification from DHS, so this set of policies is certified as a technology that is effective in the deterrence of terrorism. We have a pretty aggressive program for all the NFL stadiums, and we test them with unannounced reviews. We drill and we train to make sure that our stadiums all abide by our sets of best practices. And it’s also something that we’ve tried to help universities and colleges with.

Former FEMA Director Dave Paulison: I would add that you can use EMAC for planned events, but it won’t provide for reimbursement. That’s the big problem.

Norman, OK Chief Phil Cotten:
Mutual Aid Is Necessary When College Football Games Bring 85,000 People Into Our City

From what I’m hearing here today, it sounds like we’re doing a lot of things right, but on a smaller scale. Mutual aid is significant for us. The University of Oklahoma has a pretty good football team, and they have been selling out games for many years, which means that eight times a year, 85,000 or more people flood into the area. Our population is about 112,000, so you can see that it’s a tremendous influx.

Norman, OK Police Chief Phil Cotten

The University Police Department has jurisdiction on the campus. The stadium is considered the highest-risk target for a terrorist attack in the region on the eight Saturdays a year when it’s hosting a football game. It’s a huge operation. Not only do we have very close partnerships with the local law enforcement agencies, but also with the university athletic department, university administration, and other key players in that arena. Also crucial for our operations are private security personnel. They make up the vast majority of security on the field. They are unarmed but are visible security, and they play a big part.

U.S. Secret Service Deputy Assistant Director David O’Connor:
Police Chiefs Should Be Involved As Soon as Their City Starts Bidding on a Major Event

In many of these major events, city officials have made a lot of promises to get the event for their city. They say, “We have all these police officers, we’ve got the best fire department, we can secure the hubcaps on your car, we can do anything you want.”

So it needs to be emphasized that it’s in the early stages of the process, when cities are soliciting to get these events, that they’re promising the things that law enforcement will have to deliver. If you’re the local police chief, you need to find a way to get in on the ground floor when your city decides to try to put together a host committee to get one of these events.

Recommendations/Lessons Learned

• Establishing a shared structure among mutual aid agencies is critical to effectively responding to a major event.
• Debrief immediately after an event to identify what worked and what needs improvement.
• Work with other law enforcement agencies in your area to find or establish a coordinated regional training program specifically for special event management.
• Become familiar with the agencies from which you request mutual aid. Know what specific operations or tactics they specialize in.
• Consider having a higher-ranking officer on the ground to assess the tenor of the crowd and advise on the best tactical methods to deploy.
• Remember that mutual aid has limitations. You may not be able to discipline officers from another agency, but you can be held accountable for their actions.
EMAC (Emergency Management Assistance Compact) is a successful model for mutual aid during emergencies. But it is of limited usefulness for planned events.
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Postby admin » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:28 am

CHAPTER 7. Preparing for Protesters at Major Events

Large-scale political events often present police with a dual challenge: managing crowds of peaceful participants or demonstrators, while at the same time managing violent or aggressive protesters who are smaller in number but more difficult to control.

At the PERF Executive Session, representatives of the St. Paul Police Department and the Minneapolis Police Department shared their experiences dealing with protesters at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

And Toronto Superintendent Tom Russell offered advice based on the 2010 G-20 protests in his city.

St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota 2008 Republican National Convention

St. Paul Police Senior Commander Joseph Neuburger:

Nonviolent Protesters Can Get Swept Up in the Mood of the Crowd

There was a mix of people at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Some protesters wouldn’t break the law for any reason, and at the other end of the spectrum were small groups who wanted to cause as much destruction as they could. In the middle there was a group that flowed with the tenor of the crowd. We ended up arresting a number of locals who got caught up in the emotion of the moment. Rocks were flying; windows were breaking; they got involved in it and we captured it on tape. Some denied they were part of the violent crowd, and they might not have been black bloc members, but they were every bit a part of the problem after they ignored orders to disperse.

St. Paul, MN Senior Commander Joseph Neuberger

The biggest thing to remember when planning is the importance of flexibility. When your command staff is planning, some will say, “We just need turtle suits,” and others will say, “We just need bikes.” Listen to all of them, and make sure you have a wide array of resources in your toolbox. That way, as things come up, you’re not locked into one course of action.

You’ve got to have a lot of versatility, and you need to have a big plan. And even if you have a comprehensive plan, you have to be able to adapt on the fly. These incidents take on a life of their own sometimes, and no matter how many after-action reports you’ve looked at, the solutions are unique to each individual situation.

Minneapolis Deputy Chief Rob Allen:
It’s Important to Have a Decision-Maker On the Ground

Almost everything that happened at the Republican National Convention happened in the city of St. Paul. The event was there, so most of the protests were there. But on the third night, our city-owned arena in Minneapolis hosted a “Rage Against the Machine” concert. We’d been told by folks who had hosted “Rage” concerts in the past that we could expect some issues that night, and we had intelligence that there were going to be large marches and so forth. We had officers doing sweeps in the downtown area during the daytime, and we found caches of vodka, as well as chunks of concrete and other possible projectiles stashed in various places. So we were thinking, “Yes, people are preparing for a fight.”

We had two or three mobile field force divisions staffed right outside the Target Center. There were about 300 cops in turtle suits. A group of maybe 50 protesters started putting bandanas across their faces and occupying the street. We shut off traffic in the streets, and we occupied the roads. We set up a cut-off; we were going to let them march one direction out to Lauren Park, which is about a mile from there. We weren’t letting them get anywhere but that one place. The crowd turned down the first side street and met a barricade of mobile field officers in turtle suits. The crowd made their stand against this group of officers in turtle gear. The cops got on megaphones saying, “You have to move, you’re in violation.” The officers started suiting up.

The mobile field forces were all commanded out of St. Paul, even though this event was in Minneapolis. We had a deputy chief in that command post in St. Paul, and he was commanding the officers and bringing in other divisions of the mobile field force to confront this group of 50 people. I was on the streets in my regular soft uniform with Chief Dolan, and Chuck Wexler was there just in shirt and tie.

We were looking at these 50 kids, and yes, they had bandanas on, but we could see they weren’t hard-core anarchists. We talked to them, asking “What’s going on?” They replied, “Well, we want to go this way, but they won’t let us.”

The mobile field force commander, who was our deputy chief, was looking at this on video and saw close ups of these guys with masks in the context of what had been going on the past couple days. He said, “Do not let them move. Take action.” In the meantime, TV crews started showing up and filming this stare-down.

I thought there was no way that this was going to end well if we started taking action. We had these big hulking cops in turtle suits, and it looked like we were going to be taking on little kids. There were people watching from every angle.

So I contacted my colleague in the command post and said, “Don’t put the mobile field forces on these guys, it’s not going to go well.” He got a little upset with me. The orthodoxy is that the mobile field force commander is God, and you can’t overrule him. Well, I talked to our chief and said, “We’re going to overrule them and tell them to move aside and let these kids move down the streets.” The commander said, “Fine, you’re in charge.” And that was the end.

We did get on the radio with the private security folks to say, “Hey, just so you know, we’re going to let these guys go and we think they’re going to go south on 7th Street. You may want to have security stand out in front of your buildings.” We let them run a few blocks, and then we corralled them with our bike cops about four blocks away and made arrests there.

My point is that I think you really need to have someone in an ultimate decision-making position on the ground so you can see what’s happening. Having the command post make decisions based on a video feed can be dangerous. Video can make things look worse than they really are, and you can’t get a sense of the tenor of the crowd unless you’re there. Being on the ground made a big difference.

It’s also important to consider how inflexible mobile field forces are. Once you’re turtle suited up, you’re not moving anywhere. It’s impossible to move those guys a couple blocks away without a major production. But bike cops and officers in soft uniforms are incredibly flexible. They were able to corral the group very quickly. We made around 80 arrests, and every single one of those persons was convicted.

Toronto, Canada
The 2010 G-20 Protests

Toronto Superintendent Tom Russell:

It’s Difficult When Hard-Core Protesters Are Embedded in a Crowd

We support Vancouver’s strategy of engaging people, keeping the crowd upbeat, and reaching out to protesters. That was our original plan, too. We started our planning six months out. Our Community Relations Group met with the organizations that had publicly announced that they were going to protest. We talked to them about the rules of protesting, and explained that we were going to help facilitate the protests and keep everyone safe. But there were a number of groups who essentially said, “No.” We reached out repeatedly to those groups over a six-month period. Even these outreach attempts turned ugly. They were relaying false allegations against our officers to the mainstream media. They accused us of trying to suppress their right to free speech. That wasn’t the case whatsoever. But of course these things were printed in the newspapers. They were trying to take a run at us. So we tried the outreach, but there are some organizations that just aren’t going to listen to you.

Toronto Police Superintendent Tom Russell

In Toronto, at the height of the riots we had about 20,000 protesters. Within that protest group were approximately 1,000 black bloc protesters. One problem in dealing with black bloc protesters is that they infiltrate the crowd in street clothing, get to the center of the larger crowd, and then put on black clothing and masks. You’ve got a large group that’s going down the street and a smaller group dressed in black within that larger group. You know what they are going to try to do at some point; they haven’t done it yet but they are going to do it. How do you go into that crowd now and extract that group preventatively without agitating the rest of the crowd and provoking a larger fight? You can’t forget about the other people who are there. There are tens of thousands of people coming just to protest and march legitimately, and you have to look after their rights.

There were many things we did well. For example, in downtown Toronto there are 27 kilometers of underground walkways beneath all of the office towers. That created a huge security problem for us, as they were actually underneath the Summit venue itself and our fenced security zones. There are hundreds of access points from the ground level into these pathways. So we worked with our corporate partners downtown to lock down those pathways. The Toronto Police Service is part of a group called TAPPS, the Toronto Association of Police and Private Security. We have a very close relationship with our private corporate partners. We have a web-based tool that allows us to send out digital police alerts from our major incident command center to our partners so they can move resources around the downtown corridor.

Recommendations/Lessons Learned

• Have someone with decision-making authority on the ground to see what is happening in the field. An in-person perspective provides more context than a video feed.
• When dealing with law-breaking protesters, don’t forget that thousands of nonviolent protesters are merely exercising their First Amendment rights. So the police must differentiate the lawbreaking protesters from those who are peaceful. This can be challenging when lawbreakers embed themselves in the middle of otherwise peaceful crowds.
• When using officers from outside agencies, consider using web-based training programs to expose incoming officers to your agency’s policies, procedures, command structure and specific event plans and information. Use this in addition to in-person training closer to the event.
• Partnerships and communications with private security and corporate partners in the area can benefit police operations during a major event.
Plan to be flexible and adapt your plans during an event.
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