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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74314 Find in a Library
Title: Crowd Control and the Small Police Department
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:49  Issue:12  Dated:(December 1980)  Pages:2-5
Author(s): J A Sandora; R C Petersen
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The experiences of a small, 27-officer police department are recounted to aid other small departments faced with crowd control situations. The article explains the plans and procedures found to be successful in handling large demonstrations.
Abstract: Groton, Conn. is a small city (population 10,000) having a large industry within its borders. The industry builds most of the U.S. Navy's nuclear submarines, and in 1979 and 1980 was the target of two large-scale anti-nuclear power demonstrations. Arrests of over 200 persons for acts of civil disobedience were made during both demonstrations. Since the future promises even more anti-nuclear activity, Groton's police department has developed a number of procedures for handling massive, complex crowd control situations. The basic goal is sufficient planning--even for details as small as having enough forms available to book large numbers of persons. Other procedures are adopting a proper attitude as a department and conveying this attitude to line officers. Police are charged with protecting the rights of the peaceful demonstrators as well as those of the general public and must avoid a 'we-they' situation when facing demonstrators. Officers must be instructed to avoid use of force. Furthermore, the police can defuse many potential conflicts by communicating with the demonstrators beforehand, gathering details on plans, tactics, numbers of demonstrators, and, in general, establishing good relations with them. Intelligence sources can be placed among splinter groups. Other preparation should include enlisting sufficient help from neighboring law enforcement and State agencies, and developing a policy for handling the press. Finally, officers should keep logs from the initial planning stages, throughout the demonstration, and the critique session following each demonstration. Combined into a comprehensive report, the logs help in identifying success and failure factors and in planning for future crowd control situations.
Index Term(s): Civil disorders; Connecticut; Crowd control; Police management; Riot prevention
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