Crowd Management
BLET: 28
Lesson Purpose:
To familiarize the student with the psychological aspects of crowds
and present procedures used by law enforcement officers to
control crowds, demonstrations, and civil disorders.
Training Objectives:
At the end of this block of instruction, the student will be able to
achieve the following objectives in accordance with information
received during the instructional period:
Identify the three different classes of crowds and give an
example of each.
Describe the differences between a casual crowd and a
Using a crowd estimator table, determine the approximate
size of a crowd.
Identify the duties of a law enforcement officer when
patrolling a potentially violent demonstration or labor
Identify the primary duties of a law enforcement officer at
a nonviolent (passive) protest.
Demonstrate proper crowd control formations, using the
riot baton to control/restrain crowd movement.
Describe and demonstrate the various methods for
deploying chemical munitions.
Twelve (12)
Instructional Method:
Lecture/Demonstration/Practical Exercise
Materials Required:
Training Aids:
Lesson Outline
Overhead Projector
Chemical Munitions
Riot Helmets - 1 per participant
Gas Masks - 1 per participant
Riot Batons- 1 per participant
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Flexcuffs (2 per participant)
Riot Shields (1 per participant)
Anatomy of a Riot, Arts & Entertainment Video (1992)
Applegate, Rex. Riot Control Materials and Techniques.
Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Corp., 1969.
Chemical Munitions Instructor Manual. Rockcreek, OH: Def-Tec
Corp., 1992.
Chemical Munitions Training Course Summary. Hart Valley, MD:
AAI Corp., 1988.
ACivil [email protected] Basic Law Enforcement Training. Salemburg,
NC: N. C. Justice Academy, 1994.
Civil Disorder - Mobile Tactics. Los Angeles Sheriff=s Dept., 1994.
Crockett, Thompson S. Police Chemical Agents. Washington,
D.C.: IACP, 1969.
International Association of Chiefs of Police. Riot Control Tactics
for New Urban Violence. Virginia: IACP.
Martinez v. Kilday, 117 S.W.2d 151 (Texas Court of Civil Appeals,
The Safe and Effective Use of the Tear Gas Dispensing System.
Hart Valley , MD: AAI Corp., 1988.
Prepared By:
Hank Snyder
North Carolina Justice Academy
Officer David Thaw
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
Sgt. Andy Russell
Greensboro Police Department
Date Prepared:
August 1997
Date Revised:
October 1998
Reviewed By:
Kathy Moore
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Agency Legal Specialist
North Carolina Justice Academy
Date Reviewed:
December 1998
January 2000
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
The purpose of this block of instruction is to familiarize the student with the organization,
development, and proper execution of riot control, dispersal, and arrest techniques. Crowd dispersal
and arrest exercises will provide the student with the basic skills to safely and successfully participate
and conduct similar operations in their jurisdictions.
Careful planning and coordination of events cannot be overemphasized. This is particularly true
during mock riot or mock civil disturbance and arrest exercises. Due to the number of students
playing the role of officers and the number of others playing the role of an unruly crowd, it is
recommended that a safety monitor be appointed to work with the role players of the unruly crowd,
while the instructors work with all the students.
If possible, it is recommended that the students be exposed to live chemical munitions while the
mock riot exercises are being conducted. If live chemicals are not used then inert agents should be
used. It is important that safety devices to protect the eyes and facial areas be provided to the role
Please refer to the practical exercise guidelines.
Instructors should review all applicable OSHA regulations for gas mask and other munition exercises.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
These exercises are intended to provide the students with an opportunity to observe,
practice, and perform the following training objective:
Be able to properly handcuff, lift, and transport a passive protestor by using
flexcuffs and stretchers.
Exercise Conditions
These exercises should be conducted after the classroom lecture has been
completed and prior to the exposure to any chemical agents.
These exercises should take approximately 15-30 minutes depending on class size.
These exercises can take place either outdoors or indoors.
All students should participate in these exercises.
Personnel and Equipment
One primary instructor can conduct these exercises.
At least one stretcher is needed for the entire class.
Each student should have at least two flexcuffs in order to participate in these
One set of cutters is required.
Procedures for Conducting This Exercise
Divide the students into equal groups and pair off into arrest teams.
Give specific instructions of how to use flexcuffs and how to properly pick up a
Lay the stretcher out in front of one group.
Have one student act as a passive arrestee by sitting on the ground with legs
Using two arrest teams at a time, have students take turns placing flexcuffs on the
arrestee, placing the arrestee on a stretcher, and carrying the arrestee to another
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Group two then performs the same exercise.
Continue until all students have rotated through the exercise.
NOTE: In order to save time, each student in the arrest team can place
flexcuffs on the arrestees. Therefore, the arrestees will have two sets of
flexcuffs on his/her wrists.
Evaluating the Exercise
The instructor should evaluate the student=s performance based on the following:
Proper use of flexcuffs, i.e., proper position on wrists, proper restrictiveness (not
too loose or too tight).
Proper lifting techniques, i.e., lifting with legs and not back.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
These exercises are intended to provide the student with an opportunity to observe, practice,
and perform the following training objective:
Demonstrate proper crowd control formations, using the riot baton, shields, and the
use of mobile tactics.
Exercise Conditions
The exercise should be conducted after the classroom lecture has been completed.
A specific site location is required for the exercises. A street location is the best
site, however, an open field or parking lot may be used for traditional foot
formations. A paved area must be used for mobile tactics.
Students need one hour of practice and familiarization time to become accustomed
to the various offensive and defensive techniques associated with the use of riot
batons and shields.
The instructor should have a pre-planned idea about what type of scenario should be
given to each respective team based on the tactic used.
Traditional crowd dispersal operation using the riot baton. (Time - 30
A second scene should be conducted with the aid of inert chemical agents.
(Time - 30 minutes)
A third experience should be conducted using the riot shield, associated
with arrest teams movement. (Time - 30 minutes)
The gas mask procedures should be initiated at various stages of the
exercise to give the student the opportunity to perfect masking and
unmasking skills.
Mobile tactics require the operation of police vehicles and should not be
conducted until the students have completed defensive driving. This
segment is divided into four distinct exercises. (Time required - 2 hours)
Field force mobile response requiring students to move with their
vehicles as a unit, and then dismount and form up using traditional
crowd control formation.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Enhanced mobile tactics - requiring the use of vehicles moving in
conjunction with formation movement.
Mobile rescue techniques demonstrates the three unit L.A. Model
and the two unit Miami Model.
Arrest teams working in conjunction with the various formations should be
utilized to show the student the efficiency of unit action. (Time - 1 hour)
Chemical Agents: A demonstration of the various chemical agents used for crowd
control and dispersal operation should be demonstrated under field conditions. This
allows the students to see and experience first hand the effects, capabilities, and
limitations of the various systems and munitions. This exercise includes the
controlled exposure exercise and decontamination time. (Time - 2 hours)
Personnel and Equipment
One primary instructor can conduct the classroom lecture and direct the student
exercises outdoors.
The field exercises will require an additional instructor to monitor the role players
and assist in coordinating the various field elements.
Students must have the following equipment to successfully complete the exercise:
Riot helmets
Riot batons
Riot shields
Gas masks
Procedures for Conducting the Exercise
Divide the students into squads of eight to twelve in each squad.
Arrest teams should be designated and should consist of no less than three students
and no less than six students.
Students should be divided into two groups when conducting unprotected chemical
exposure. One student is masked while his/her partner is unmasked. This is
necessary for safety reasons. Once the first student has recovered from the
exposure, then switch roles.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Evaluating the Exercise
The instructor should evaluate the ability of the class to perform the task based on the
The ability to demonstrate the various crowd control formations.
Team work.
The ability to control and/or restrain crowd movement.
The ability to properly use the gas mask.
The proper techniques for dismounting from patrol vehicles.
The ability to use patrol vehicles during mobile tactics.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Opening Statement
NOTE: Reveal opening slide ACrowd [email protected]
Freedom of speech and the right to lawful assembly are guaranteed by the First
Amendment of the United States Constitution. Similarly, every state in the Union by
its constitution, protects these rights. Unfortunately, our history is marked with
incidents where these rights have been abused, resulting in mobs and riots that left
death and destruction in their wake.
Training Objectives
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In day-to-day activities the officer will find himself engaged in duties related to
crowd control. These tasks may range from controlling a curious group of
bystanders at the scene of an accident to the possibility of a hostile crowd bent on
riot and destruction. The officer must be equipped with knowledge to handle this
wide spectrum of protection of life and property.
As law enforcement officers, we generally view our actions as one-on-one
with those persons who break the law. We must learn to see our actions on
a broader plane, especially when taking action in a group setting. Actions
taken by an individual officer--right or wrong--can be viewed negatively by
a group and ultimately lead to civil unrest. Officers should not ignore
unlawful behavior, but should use tact and diplomacy when confronted by a
This lessens the possibility of hostile group attack and gives the officer time
to consolidate resources to help diffuse or disperse a crowd before a
problem develops.
A crowd is best described as a number of persons temporarily congregated
in an area. Crowds form for many different reasons. Individuals usually
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
have no common bond other than their curiosity of an event. There are also
planned crowd activities such as political rallies.
Normally, crowds are orderly, lawful in their actions, and not endangering
life or property . This type of crowd situation does not present a major
problem to law enforcement officials.
Types of Crowds
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The physical crowd
A physical crowd is characterized by density of contact and
showing no significant group behavior. The physical crowd has
little or no organization, no unity of purpose, and its members come
and go. (Example: mall or major festival type event)
One type of physical crowd is the conventional crowd or casual
crowd. This crowd is characterized by density of contact showing
no significant group behavior. They are, however, usually
assembled for a purpose but have no common bond and are not
dependent on each other.1
NOTE: Click on word [email protected] to reveal text; click on text to make it
The psychological crowd
The psychological crowd is an assemblage of people who have a sustained
common interest and respond emotionally to the same stimuli. (Example:
ball game, political speech, parades, fires, accidents or disturbances)
Types of psychological crowds
Sightseer or sightseeing crowd
This crowd is characterized by their common bond (a single
purpose for being at a certain place). They are curiosity seekers,
mostly cooperative, and sometimes anxious to assist. Officers
must retain their cooperation while attempting to disperse them.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Expressive or agitated crowd
Members of the expressive crowd are involved in some kind of
Aexpressive behavior,@ such as a block party or political rally. This
type of crowd is emotionally involved and can easily become
agitated if approached improperly. For the most part, they want to
Ahave a good [email protected] or express their point of view. If possible, and
as long as there is no breach of peace, it is best to let the crowd
release their energies by permitting them to express themselves.
Officers must be aware of the emotional climate of this group in
order to find a way to reduce the emotional level and successfully
disperse the crowd. Otherwise, officers risk the possibility of
turning the crowd into an aggressive and destructive mob.
Expressive or agitated crowds are an unorganized group of people
willing to be led into lawlessness but hesitate to act because it lacks
(1) organization, (2) courage, and (3) unity. They are noisy,
willing to threaten and taunt or harass police; however, they refrain
from physical attack.2
Mob (hostile/aggressive)
A mob is a crowd whose members, under the stimulus of intense
excitement and agitation, lose their sense of reason. They can also lose
respect for sense of order, law, and respect for each other.3
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Types of mobs:
Escape mob
A highly emotionally charged crowd driven by fright describes the
escape mob. People involved are driven by an overpowering fright
which creates an emotional, unreasonable, and frantic behavior
driving the crowd to seek safety. This type of mob is extremely
difficult to control because the group, even though together and
acting as one, is interested in individual survival.
The aggressive mob
This is a mob that will attack, riot, and terrorize others. The aim of
the mob is the destruction of property and physical attacks on
Acquisitive mob
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
This a mob who has the desire to acquire something. (Example:
food or merchandise as in the looting type mob)
Expressive mob
The expressive mob is a group expressing intense feelings or
revelry. Usually follows some special event. (Example: New
Year=s Eve, major sporting event such as the Detroit Pistons riot on
June 16, 1990, when seven were killed during the crowds
rampage.) This type of mob can be very destructive. 4
Social/Psychological Influences
Psychological behavioral factors are present in any crowd confrontation. These
factors affect the crowd as well as law enforcement personnel. Knowledge and
appreciation of social/psychological influences can help control forces effectively
counter riot tactics, help with crowd dispersal, and help supervisors maintain control
of their subordinates.
These behavioral factors not only affect a crowd, but they affect control forces as
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal ACrowd Behavioral [email protected]
NOTE: Click on first hand icon.
The feeling of being lost in the crowd. Members of the crowd feel they
cannot be identified. Therefore, they lose responsibility for their actions.
NOTE: Click on second hand icon.
The Aeverybody is doing [email protected] feeling. Members feel the attitudes and
emotions are being experienced and are shared by everyone in the group.
NOTE: Click on third hand icon.
Inability to withdraw
Being afraid to express a view contrary to those in the majority.
NOTE: Click on fourth hand icon.
Increased hostility (Convergence Theory)
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
When people are frustrated and believe they are being treated unfairly,
confrontation is an outlet for their anger; however, conflict does not
eliminate the problem and it often increases hatred between social groups.
According to this theory, people merely reveal their true selves in a crowd-the crowd serving only as excuse or a trigger.
NOTE: Click on fifth hand icon.
Social suggestion
The urge to do what others do is quite strong with the majority of people.
Crowd people tend to follow the lead of others, particularly those designated
as leaders. Those involved usually have a common denominator that brings
them together to unify the group.
NOTE: Click on sixth hand icon.
Emotional contagion (Contagion Theory)
This is the most dramatic feature of collective behavior where excitement
seems to be [email protected] from one person to another. Emotional contagion
provides the crowd with psychological unity and the point at which a
crowd or assemblage becomes a mob.5
Role of the Rumor
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The rumor is the characteristic mode of communication in a collective behavior
setting. Rumors can be defined as communication through people caught up in an
ambiguous situation who try to make a meaningful sense of it by relying on their
perceptions and intellect.
A rumor is a progressive distortion of an originally accurate statement.
Rumor plays a major part in crystallizing public opinion.
Some experts have said that no riot takes place without a build-up through
Animosity is gradually intensified preceding a riot by stories of aggressive
acts on the part of the opposition.
Rumors often follow controversial encounters between a member of a
minority group and a white police officer. These rumors are often more
important than the incident.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Example: The Watts Riots of the 1960's began because of a [email protected]
police were beating a pregnant black [email protected] The facts were that an
arrest had been made, but the arrestee was neither pregnant nor was she
beaten. Subsequent confrontation between citizens and the police lead to
further confrontations where the police either withdrew because they were
not prepared to deal with the crowds, or they were made to appear helpless.
Rumors must be countered! When a rumor begins to surface, every effort
must be made to communicate the truth. This can be accomplished by
effectively using community contacts, i.e., community advisor , community
leaders, community policing efforts, and the press to get the facts out into
the community.
Types of Disturbances
There are five (5) general types of disturbances and civil unrest which may be
confronted by law enforcement officers.
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below will appear in animation and automatically.
Mass demonstration
This type of demonstration usually involves hundreds or thousands of
people, many of whom may be nonviolent and within their rights to protest;
but because of their numbers, they can overwhelm the capabilities of law
enforcement agencies. (Example: protest march)
Civil disobedience
This involves a group that is usually nonviolent and uses tactic and posture
that place them in a position to be arrested by law enforcement agencies.
This places the law enforcement agency in a very awkward position
because of the nonviolent approach taken. It is usually a highly visible
action and often has extensive media coverage. (Example: operation rescue
demonstration, student takeovers on college campuses)
Labor disorder
Picket lines
Most unrest and violence relating to a labor dispute traditionally
center on the picket line activity. The most common forms of
labor violence are scuffles at picket lines between strikers and
nonstrikers. Violence may involve threats and intimidation as well
as some physical form of attack.
Transportation dispute
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
In a labor dispute involving the transportation industry, the violence
may be more widespread and incidents may occur incidentally or
simultaneously in a very wide geographical area.
Idealistic protest
These usually involve fanatically dedicated participants, usually young males
who are not deterred by the threat of arrest or use of force.
A riot is an uncontrolled and violent disturbance of the public peace by three
or more persons joined together for a common purpose. (Example: recent
L.A. riots)
Conventional mob riot
This classic type of riot is the climate of violence which is caused
by the rampage of a spontaneously formed mob.
Race riot
A Atrue race [email protected] is open warfare between those of different ethnic
or religious groups. Rumor plays a key role in this type of riot-used to influence. Once the stage is set, only a spark (incident) is
required to ignite the group into a bloody war. The target is the
[email protected] group. Traditional crowd/riot control techniques have
limited effectiveness in this setting because law enforcement is
usually caught between groups who may be armed.
Organized/Planned riot
A planned riot occurs when a mob is deliberately assembled and
incited to riot. They utilize a key instigator with predetermined
followers. They are used to enhance the ideas of the instigator and
destroy the police department=s reputation. As a result, the public
loses faith in the police, which hurts police morale and makes them
hesitant and unsure of themselves.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Guerrilla riot
Their actions are not those of the mob but rather those of a
guerrilla army or terrorist group. Their prime target is the police,
and they use ambush techniques to accomplish their goals.
Conventional riot control countermeasures are useless in this type
of encounter. This is true urban warfare involving guns, grenades,
explosives, etc.
Spontaneous riot
Confrontations just don=t happen. Some force or event must occur
to Aset [email protected] a group. Officers responding to loud party calls or to
gatherings outside night spots can become targets, particularly if
the officers= actions are viewed as improper by the group. Such
actions may be a simple arrest, closing down a loud party, or
clearing the street.
Note: In 1964 and 1965, the Rochester, Pennsylvania and L.A.
Watts Riots were all ignited from [email protected] police arrests on busy
streets where crowds spontaneously gathered and fused together.
These incidents occurred rapidly; however, they did not erupt into
widespread civil unrest for hours. In contrast, today=s incidents
grow out of control in as little as 15 minutes. The 1992 L.A. Riot
that began at the intersection of Florence and Normandy spread
rapidly through the city=s south side. 6
NOTE: Show video Anatomy of a Riot (44 minutes). Discuss
the scope of attacks on people and how they changed from
beating to killing those singled out for the attack.
Mental Preparation of Officers
A special need exists to prepare individuals for the mental and physical stress of civil
disturbance control operations. Officers must be made aware of the influence of
psychological factors upon their own behavior.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Individual response to stress
Officers engaged in civil disturbance operations will encounter the noise and
confusion created by large numbers of people facing them. Individuals may
shout at, insult, or call officers abusive names. Officers must learn to
ignore these taunts and not allow personal feelings to interfere with the
execution of their mission. In addition, officers can expect objects to be
thrown at them, but must learn to avoid thrown objects by evasive
movements. They must never throw the objects back. Officers must
subdue their emotions and carry out their orders determinedly and
NOTE: Make a point that officers should understand that the welldisciplined execution of orders is the most effective force applied
against rioters.
Psychological influences
Just as the crowd may be swept into violence by various psychological
influences, the reaction of officers may be inappropriate because of the
same factors. Both the law enforcement commanders and the officers
must be aware of these factors so that they can cope with them in the civil
disturbance environment.
The cumulative effect of these psychological factors may be an
excessive response by officers who are often thrust into situations
with little time to brief them about the situation.
The fatigue factor must also be taken into consideration in
determining the ability of the control force personnel to deal with
provocation. In situations where the control forces become
extremely emotionally involved, the supervisors may lose control
over the officers= actions.
Emotional involvement - Officer focuses in on one demonstrator
and targets this person for uses of force and/or arrest. Supervisors
must be vigilant for such behavior and pull these officers off the
line and put them in a support role, until they regain their
composure - Aa cooling off [email protected]
Estimating Crowd Size
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal AEstimating Crowd [email protected]
The development of an accurate crowd estimate is an important part of
demonstration control. Since the demonstration to some extent is a media event
designed to call public attention to a cause or controversy, its success or failure may
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Crowd Management
tend to be measured by the number of participants it was able to attract. Under
these circumstances, widely divergent estimates of crowd size might be expected
from sources either in support of or in opposition to the demonstration. Therefore,
journalists turn to the police for professional, objective estimate of crowd size.
If the crowd estimate results in numbers that either exaggerate or belittle the
demonstration, citizens may feel that the police are biased on the issue and have
betrayed their professional objectivity.
Accurate crowd estimates are not difficult to produce--whether the method for
producing the estimate relies on a single experienced observer or makes use of aerial
reconnaissance and skilled photo interpreters, ultimately the process comes down to
counting and multiplying within a set of reasonable variables.
The mobile crowd
An observer is stationed at a convenient location along the parade route.
The number of persons in each of the first few ranks of the parade are
counted as they pass in order to establish an average. The total number of
ranks is then recorded as the parade passes. If the parade thins out toward
the end, the number of persons per rank is adjusted accordingly.
The total number of parade ranks is then multiplied by the number of
persons per rank, and the crowd estimate is complete.
It is preferable to use two observers stationed at different positions along
the parade route to obtain the crowd estimate. The two totals are compared
and evaluated before an official figure is released.
The stationary crowd
Stationary crowd estimates are more difficult. Sometimes the geographic
configuration of the meeting place can make the crowd appear to be larger
or smaller. For example, a favorite spot for outdoor political speeches near
the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. is a natural bowl which requires
viewers to assemble in ascending ranks on a grassy slope before the
speaker. When televised from this perspective, crowds appear to be much
larger and more impressive.
Estimating the stationary crowd is also basically a matter of counting and
multiplying. When the crowd is relatively small, perhaps up to 1,000
persons, the estimator simply counts to some workable number like 50
persons, locks an imaginary frame around the space occupied by that
number of persons, then proceeds to count the time that he can move that
same imaginary frame over the entire crowd. Ten frames equal 500, and so
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
When the crowd is larger, it is preferable for the estimator to work with a
fixed frame or fixed grid, in which the crowd is estimated relative to its
density within that known space. The grid, for instance, might be projected
as the size of a football field or a basketball court or the length of a city
Experience with these known space grids in various cities has produced
some formulas for estimating crowd size relative to density within the grid.
For example, a densely packed crowd is one in which five persons occupy
each square yard of space. A densely packed crowd occupying the length
of a city street for one block will number approximately 10,000 persons. A
loosely packed crowd, in which one person occupies each square yard, will
fill up the same city street with just 2,000 persons.
The ideal means for observing and estimating large crowds within grids is
by aerial reconnaissance, probably by helicopter. Observers positioned atop
a building in the assembly area can approximate the accuracy of a helicopter
observation. Lacking even that opportunity, a high ground or elevated
position should be sought.
The figure shows estimates of crowd size relative to density within several
known grids.
NOTE: Refer to handout, ATable for Crowd Size [email protected]
When a large demonstration is expected and assembly ground has been set
aside as a result of cooperative negotiation, measured grids can be marked
in advance in such a way as to assist observation by helicopter or from
some other vantage point.7
Duties of Law Enforcement at Potentially Violent Demonstration or Labor Dispute
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Crowd and demonstration control
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A crowd generally is aware of the law and usually respects the principles of
law and order. However, often emotions become so high that they overrule
order. In confronting a crowd, law enforcement should know the reason
for the meeting, determine the general characteristics of the individuals (and
the crowd), and know well the area in which the crowd gathers.
One popular method of controlling factors which affect emotions is to have
a permit system for the registering of meetings and assemblies. In a permit
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Crowd Management
system, organizers must apply for a permit in order to hold meetings or
gatherings. In such a situation, the permit issuers (often a law enforcement
agency) can set rules and regulations for these meetings that must be
followed or the permit may be canceled. Certain elements, such as those
discussed below, can be controlled in an effort to prevent their effect on the
emotions of the crowd at the meeting. Promoters and organizers can be
held legally responsible for the group=s behavior. This encourages the
organizer to [email protected] his group to ensure a peaceful meeting.
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Crowd control plan
NOTE: Click on first whistle icon.
Observe spectators rather than the event.
NOTE: Click on second whistle icon.
Avoid unnecessary conversation.
NOTE: Click on third whistle icon.
Keep outside the crowd.
NOTE: Click on fourth whistle icon.
Identify and watch crowd agitators.
Control of lawful demonstrations
A lawful demonstration should not be looked upon with
disapproval by law enforcement. First Amendment rights
must be respected and protected!
The visible officers should be kept to a minimum; normal
dress should be worn.
Proper liaison between law enforcement and the
demonstrators often prevents trouble.
Characteristics of a riot
Types of violence
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Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
A riot is mob violence, a contagious striking out at authority and the
symbols of authority. It may consist of indiscriminate looting and
burning; it may be open attacks on officials, buildings or innocent
bystanders; or it may be both. Law enforcement must control
group violence. Law enforcement, therefore, must be carefully
instructed about the kinds of violence they may encounter.
NOTE: Click on first cross hair icon.
Verbal and written abuse
Anticipate both; the purpose of this tactic is to anger and
demoralize law enforcement and cause them to take
individual actions that may later be exploited as Apolice
[email protected]
NOTE: Click on second cross hair icon.
This is a two-prong attack. Leaders of unruly crowds use
noise to keep the emotions high in the mob.
NOTE: Click on third cross hair icon.
Attacks on officers and their equipment
NOTE: Click on fourth cross hair icon.
Thrown objects
NOTE: Click on fifth cross hair icon.
Moving vehicles
NOTE: Click on sixth cross hair icon.
Destruction of property and looting
NOTE: Click on seventh cross hair icon.
Demolitions and explosions
NOTE: Click on eighth cross hair icon.
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Weapons and firearms
Crowd Management
Tactics employed by rioters
Conventional mob tactics restricted by area and leadership can be
effectively stopped by traditional move, divide, and disperse
techniques. There is a new tactic being used now, however, that is
designed to counter the measures employed by law enforcement.
It thrives on deception, confusion, and the [email protected]
theory. The following are some of the tactics employed by
Aguerrilla [email protected]
Numerous false calls to the fire department to scatter and
render fire fighting equipment ineffective.
False calls of Aofficer in [email protected] is used to divert law
enforcement manpower, or to cause officers to converge
on a certain area to attract a large crowd that may be
incited to riot.
Interfering with a law enforcement officer in his line of
duty, forcing him to take action against agitators. Then the
cry of Apolice [email protected] is raised.
Reliance on emotional appeal to the masses.
Blocking or flooding the law enforcement switchboard
with false or petty calls.
Use of walkie-talkies on citizens bands by mob leaders to
control the operations of the mob.
There is no limit to mob ingenuity, and officers must
recognize the effectiveness of mob psychology as
employed by the advocates of violence.
Law enforcement operations at a strike scene
Dynamics of labor disputes
The dynamics of a labor dispute are very complex. To better
understand the related law enforcement problems involved in this
duty, officers should look at several perspectives: free speech,
police power at the scene, picketing, employer and nonstriking
employees, and access to company property.
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Crowd Management
The right of strikers to picket is protected by the courts on
the ground that it is a valid expression of freedom of
Exercise of the police powers must be reasonable in
relation to the actions which it is designed to combat, and
must be neither arbitrary nor discriminatory.
An employer and his employees who do not strike also
have rights to be protected. Under North Carolina law,
employees do not have to join a union to be employed or
continue to work; therefore, they have a right to work
without interference from striking employees.
The law is clear that an employer has the legal right of
ingress and egress to and from his premises without prior
consultation with the picketers; employees, customers, and
others seeking to enter or leave the employer's premises
also have the right to do so without interference from the
picket lines.
Duties of law enforcement
It is the duty of law enforcement to see to it that the strikers' right
to picket and make known their grievances in a legal manner is
protected; to see that persons are able to freely exercise their right
to enter and leave company premises at will and without regard to
the existence of a strike; and to maintain the peace and protect the
rights and property of all persons involved.
Do's for law enforcement
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal AAt Strike Scenes, Be
Sure To . . [email protected]
NOTE: Click on first whistle icon.
Be totally impartial (neutral) at all times.
NOTE: Click on second whistle icon.
If you have a close relative or friend involved in the
dispute, let your superior know of it; he may determine to
temporarily transfer or reassign you.
NOTE: Click on right arrow.
NOTE: Click on first whistle icon.
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Crowd Management
It is the responsibility of the supervising officer to see to it
that necessary information is passed on. The policies and
approach of law enforcement personnel at the scene
should be consistent.
NOTE: Click on second whistle icon.
All discussions relative to the dispute situation between or
among the officers and either or both of the disputants
should take place at the supervisor level and should be
taped whenever possible.
NOTE: Click on right arrow.
NOTE: Click on first whistle icon.
Taverns or other places providing alcoholic beverages in
the area should be notified of any potential problems
involving the purchase and use of alcoholic beverages and
asked to assist by being especially watchful for abuses
involving alcoholic beverages or the ABC laws.
NOTE: Click on second whistle icon.
The general public should be kept a safe distance from the
area of the dispute, but not so far that the general public is
either actually or constructively excluded from viewing and
comprehending the substance of the grievance being
protested against. A safe distance is a distance that tends
to lessen tensions and assure law enforcement clear and
safe room for action should violence erupt. Safe distances
will vary directly in relation to tensions and dangers
attendant at the dispute scene.
NOTE: Click on right arrow.
NOTE: Click on first whistle icon.
Be aware of agitators, professional or other, who may
attempt to put law enforcement in a position in which they
appear to be taking sides.
NOTE: Click on second whistle icon.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Give clear and audible instructions when asked directions
by a disputant.
Crowd Management
NOTE: Click on third whistle icon.
Keep pedestrian and vehicular traffic on any nearby
sidewalks and streets moving.
NOTE: Click on right arrow.
NOTE: Click on whistle icon.
Do not engage in unsolicited intelligence or information
gathering at the strike scene unless directed to do so
through the chain of command; if you do come upon
information you feel would be useful, report it through the
chain of command.
In handling vehicles passing through (or attempting to) a
picket line:
Have a labor official direct the pickets to clear the
entrance, if possible; if not then break the picket
line only temporarily as necessary to accomplish
the movement.
Do not give the impression you are directing
vehicles to enter or leave. The driver seeking to
enter or leave the picketed premises should be
allowed to make his own decision whether to enter
or leave.
Union officials should be allowed to communicate
with the drivers of the vehicles seeking to enter or
leave the picketed premises; if the driver of the
vehicle refuses to communicate with the union
official, that is his right.
Don'ts for law enforcement at a strike scene
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal ADon'[email protected]
NOTE: Click on first hand icon.
Do not, under any circumstances, discuss the merits of the
dispute with any person involved at the dispute.
NOTE: Click on second hand icon.
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Do not become provoked by name calling or derogatory
remarks directed at you.
NOTE: Click on right arrow.
NOTE: Click on first hand icon.
Do not at any time go to the scene of the dispute to obtain
information unless directed to do so by the chain of
NOTE: Click on second hand icon.
Do not discuss an injunction with anyone involved in the
dispute. The injunction is civil in nature and should be
treated as such. However, if one is issued by a court, you
will enforce it as you would any other order of the court if
the court directs enforcement.8
Crowd Control Operations
There are four (4) crowd control options available based on the desired objective. A
prime consideration in selecting an option(s) will be the effect of the response in
reducing the intensity of the existing situation.
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal ACrowd Control [email protected]
This option consists of watching the crowd=s progress and development by
control force teams. Monitoring enables the agency to gauge the crowd=s
activity and intent in relation to civil disturbance and possibly influence their
actions through persuasive means.
This option is particularly appropriate for large non-violent demonstrations
where more decisive action is not feasible because of the crowd size and
where the intensity of the situation might escalate. This option is also
appropriate as an interim measure pending arrival of additional control
Techniques for accomplishing this option include passive observation of the
crowd and communication with leaders on the intent or interest of the
group. If the crowd is not out of control, officers should monitor the area
to identify leaders and group actions, and to discover possible dispersement
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Crowd Management
This option consists of restraining a large number of individuals within the
area they are presently occupying, thereby containing any further aggressive
activity. This option would be appropriate in college campus situations to
prevent demonstrators from spreading out to surrounding communities and
to prevent unauthorized personnel from entering the campus.
This option consists of the physical denial of a crowd=s advance upon a
facility which is the potential or actual target to dissident activity. Crowd
control formations (especially the Askirmish [email protected]) and barricades are the
most appropriate techniques for this option. Barricades such as vehicles,
traffic barrels, and water or sand-filled barrels can be erected to block or
channel the movement of crowds. These devices and water or sand-filled
barrels can be erected to block or channel the movement of crowds. These
devices, when used in combination with control forces and other crowd
control techniques, are useful in accomplishing containment or blocking.
This option consists of action taken to fragment a crowd and is especially
applicable to small crowd situations in a congested urban environment.
This selection should include the consideration that such dispersion may
increase and spread lawlessness rather than reduce it. Therefore, one
should establish control over the dispersal routes; provide security for those
facilities that might become likely targets for small groups; and then prepare
to follow-up the dispersal operation with the apprehension of small groups
still active in the area.
Techniques for accomplishing dispersal objectives would include the
proclamation, show of force, use of crowd control formations, and the use
of riot agents and saturation patrol techniques.
Countermeasure operations
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal ACountermeasure [email protected]
NOTE: Click on first hand icon.
Downtown - Secure rooftops and side streets; having moving
patrols and watching for sniper fire are essential.
NOTE: Click on second hand icon.
Residential areas - Same as for downtown areas only security may
become an additional problem due to the additional space.
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NOTE: Click on right arrow.
NOTE: Click on first hand icon.
Barricades - Designed by protesters to impede effective law
enforcement action; remove or destroy the barricades; watch for
booby traps hidden in barricades.
NOTE: Click on second hand icon.
Looting - Foot patrol teams can effectively deal with this type of
NOTE: Click on right arrow.
NOTE: Click on hand icon.
Vital buildings - Law enforcement must gain entry, secure sensitive
areas, and initiate action to remove the rioters.
NOTE: Click on right arrow.
NOTE: Click on first hand icon.
Teamwork - Stick together; a lone officer is a waste of manpower
and merely stimulates the ugly tendencies of the crowd.
NOTE: Click on second hand icon.
Post-riot control - Once suppressed, positive action must prevent a
recurrence. Try to correct the source of trouble and re-establish
normal relations in the community.
Use of Force
The amount of force used to quell any civil disturbance must be only that force
necessary to overcome the actions of the crowd. It is through the controlled
application of force that a crowd is dispersed or a disturbance ended. Indiscriminate
use of force upon a crowd should never be tolerated or condoned.
Regardless of the type of demonstration, the amount of force used must be:
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal AUse of [email protected]
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The force should be applied only long enough to overcome the resistance of another
person's force. 9
Example: A riot may require an officer to use either a baton in a striking or thrusting
motion or chemical agents. On the other hand, passive/resistant demonstrations
may require officers who physically carry the demonstrators away.
Large Scale Disturbances
Large scale disturbances utilize the same techniques as small scale disturbances.
The important point between the two is that large scale disturbances require more
control force personnel. Supervisors should never attempt to disperse a large crowd
with a small number of officers.
If there are insufficient control forces on hand to disperse the crowd, efforts should
be made to monitor and contain the crowd as well as possible until additional control
forces are summoned. This level of activity will require the use of the following
response plan:
Isolate the area. The primary goal and responsibility is to safeguard lives.
Restricting access to the affected area effectively seals off the
disturbance. The objective of isolation is to prevent the spread of
the unrest to unaffected areas, to prevent the escape of individuals
identified for arrest, and to evacuate the area of uninvolved persons
and keep others out of the area.
Building clearing - Control forces may be needed to [email protected]
buildings in the affected area, checking for trapped, non-involved
persons and to identify possible hot spots or buildings requiring
special attention, such as gun shops, hardware stores, etc.
Isolation techniques
There are several techniques for isolating a disturbance area.
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal AIsolation [email protected]
Use of barricades. The use of physical barriers would deny or limit
entry and exit from the disturbance area. Usually only effective as
long as the barricades are manned.
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Roadblocks. To be effective, roadblocks must not be easily
breached by vehicles. Example, 55-gallon drums filled with water
or sand, sandbags, or heavy vehicles are all effective roadblocks.
Perimeter patrols that operate along the outer boundaries of the
affected area can be effective. The purpose is to prevent entry to
or exit from the area. Perimeter patrols can also help capture
identified ring leaders fleeing the area.
Techniques for Crowd Control
There are numerous techniques designed to provide agencies with flexibility of
action in accomplishing crowd control. Selection may consider a combination of
techniques which will produce the desired result within the framework of the
selected crowd control option.
The most common techniques used are:
Observation - This consists of the deployment of teams to the peripheral
areas of the crowd for the purpose of monitoring activities. Teams gather
information on the crowd size, location and mood, and report on developing
Communications of interest and intent - In certain situations, the effective
communication with crowd leaders and participants may enable police
personnel to control the situation without resorting to more severe action.
Cooperation - Active initiation by control forces to obtain the cooperation of
group leaders may significantly decrease the potential for disruption of the
crowd activity.
Proclamation - A proclamation establishes the illegal nature of the crowd=s
action and is an excellent medium to make known to the crowd the intent of
control forces supervision. The proclamation is also a means of reducing
the size of the crowd prior to direct action being taken. In making any
proclamation to a crowd, consideration must be given to not stating a
definite time for dispersal because the situation may change and this may
not leave supervisors free to select alternate courses of action at the time of
his/her choosing.
Show of force - Marching a well equipped, highly disciplined control force
into view of a crowd may be all of the force necessary to persuade them to
disperse peacefully. On the other hand, in some situations, such as with
idealistically-motivated groups, a show of force may have a
counterproductive effect by causing them to become involved in a direct
challenge of control forces. Ten well trained officers can effectively
disperse 1,000 rioters.
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Crowd control formation - Crowd control formations, when properly
employed and effectively executed against a crowd of a limited size
represents one of the most practical methods of crowd control and
dispersal. A supervisor must always realize the limits of crowd control
When a large crowd has been dispersed, do not assume that members of
the crowd have returned to peaceful activity; small groups may initiate
dispersed riotous activities, therefore, the use of formation should only be
part of a total dispersal effort. Also, if the crowd refuses to move, other
techniques may have to be employed, such as the use of riot control agents
and physical arrest.
Arrest and processing of arrestees
Arrest teams - All arrest teams will be under the direct supervision
of an arrest team supervisor. During times of civil disorder,
individual police action will be suspended and arrests will only be
made under the direction of a supervisor. Arrest team members
will escort prisoners to a central prisoner processing area.
Processing of arrestees - A point outside the affected area, yet
close by, will allow for the quick return of arrest team personnel to
maximize their effectiveness.
At the arrest processing point, the arresting officer should have his
photograph taken with the prisoner for later identification and court
Special considerations of arrests
During times of civil unrest, physical arrest must be kept to a
minimum, not to appease the crowd, but to economize on the
limited number of police resources. Therefore, individual police
action must be suspended. Supervisors will determine the course
of action to include all arrests. Exception: emergency life or death
situations. Procedures must also be established to deal with
arrestees, transportation, and detainment.10
Duties of Law Enforcement at Non-Violent Passive Protest
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal ADuties at Passive [email protected]
As police departments throughout the country continue to improve and update their
training in response to violent community disturbances, most do not have a plan of
action when dealing with the non-violent or passive protest. Police officers should
not respond to passive protests in the same manner as they would for violent
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
protests. Police departments must develop a procedure to deal with this type
When confronting passive protesters, police officers must be aware of the
differences in tactics used by this group as compared to the violent group. The
response will be different. Therefore, officers must be exposed to the difference in
tactics used.
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal below text.
Passive protests: lawful vs. unlawful
Officers must always be aware of state and local laws dealing with lawful
protests. The simple fact that a group of individuals is gathering to voice an
opinion to gain public sentiment does not necessarily mean that the protest
is unlawful.
What is lawful?
Picketing - A way of protesters gaining sympathy and support from
the public. (Check local ordinances for procedures and
restrictions.) Many ordinances require the picketers to remain a
certain distance from the business, as well as remain a certain
distance between each other and others opposing the picketers.
Parades and marches
What is unlawful?
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal AWhat Is [email protected]
Violence - Involving injury or damage to people or property.
Blocking entrances - N.C.G.S. 14-277.4 Obstruction of Health Care
Facilities - A lawful protest becomes unlawful when protesters
move onto the premises and begin to block entrances.
NOTE: Tell students to check with local prosecutorial districts
as to the use of this statute because it was determined
unconstitutional in 1996 by Federal Judge Potter from western
North Carolina.
It is also an unlawful protest when they enter the premise.
N.C.G.S. 2nd Degree Trespass/1st Degree Trespass.
Communication and liaisons
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Crowd Management
As with any type of disturbance, it is necessary to maintain open
communication with the protesting group.
Identify the leaders - Once the leaders are identified, it is imperative
that open communication be maintained with them.
Attend group meetings to obtain intelligence information.
Use informants - infiltrate meetings as a last resort when leaders
will not cooperate. Help to identify trouble makers and possible
Identify local and out of town militants.
Report to supervisors - any information received must be relayed to
departmental supervisors.11
Protester tactics
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal AProtester [email protected]
Blocking entrances - protesters may block doorways, loading
docks, or delivery entrances. They may stand, sit, or lie.
Locking arms - they may join arms and make a human chain.
Padlocking with chains - they may use metal chains and locks to
lock themselves to the building. (A bolt cutter is an important item
in the equipment truck.)
Singing and chanting - a common tactic. Adds stress to the
officers on the scene. Officers must shout over the singing to give
their commands.
Name calling - protesters will accuse officers of taking sides. (At
abortion protests, they have been known to call officers
Responsibilities and duties
Remain neutral and impartial - officers must not allow personal
beliefs and values to take precedent over upholding the law.
Maintain your professionalism - don=t allow protesters to incite you
with name calling and accusations.
Be aware of violations - know local and state laws that apply.
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Assaults - on officers, as well as, opposing protesters
Blocking entrances
Keep supervisors aware of conditions and any changes in
Making the arrest
The on-scene supervisor will determine when arrests occur and who will be
Use arrest teams - usually two officers.
Use flex-cuffs in lieu of metal for mass arrests. Flex-cuffs are
convenient and they are viewed by the public as a [email protected] method
for handcuffing.
Use stretchers for carrying prisoners - cuts down on officer and
arrestee injuries.
Photograph and document each arrestee - before moving your
prisoner, photograph each arrestee (Polaroid preferable) and record
date, time, and name or number of prisoner.
Videotape entire disturbance.
Crowd Control Formations
Protective equipment for law enforcement
Gas masks
NOTE: Instructor should demonstrate procedure for use of
the protective mask. Allow practice for putting on mask in
class and later in formation drills.
Goggles or visors
Body armor
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Shin guards
Show and use of force - use only the minimum force to effectively control
the situation.
Officer presence
Chemical agents
Riot control formations
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal ARiot Control [email protected]
NOTE: Refer students to the riot control formations handout. The
class should be broken down into squads and the formations practiced
in an open area. Allow students to take the formations handout with
them for reference in the exercises.
Squad - Not less than eight nor more than twelve officers. One
member should be designated as leader.
Platoon - Should consist of three or four squads. One officer
should be designated as leader. Three platoons form one company.
Formations - The line, the echelon (right and left), the wedge, and
the diamond; rapid and uniform response to commands is essential.
Vehicles - Should be located where they can quickly maneuver to
block oncoming vehicular assault on the riot formation.
Sniper Action
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Most law enforcement agencies are not equipped to deal with large scale anti-sniper
operations. A police agency paralyzed by sniper fire cannot effectively prevent mob
violence from spreading out of control. Specialized units such as SWAT or SRT
counter sniper teams must be used to counter this threat. A skilled sniper, using
high velocity, scope-sighted firearms, can operate from a distance of 300 yards or
more. The range effectively eliminates the sound, leaving only the impact of the
round or the sound of the projectile passage to indicate an approximate position.
A well concealed sniper using a low-velocity weapon, such as .22 caliber rifle, can
fire on a target from a much closer range and still remain relatively safe from police
counteraction, especially if the area is engulfed in wild riotous confusion.
Note: It takes specially trained counter sniper actions using proven military-type
actions to eliminate this type of threat. The average street officer is not equipped to
handle this situation.
Therefore, whenever this is encountered during crowd control operations, officers
should seek cover and call for the assistance of specialized anti-sniper teams to
eliminate the threat.
NOTE: Sniper as used in this text means any hidden, armed threat. AAn
expert rifle marksman is a person who can consistently hit, with his first
shot, a target as small as a man=s head (approximately 10 inches) at a
distance of up to 300 yards, under varying conditions of light and [email protected] 12
Police Counter Action from Sniper Attacks
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal ASniper [email protected]
NOTE: Click on hot word Acontrol,@ then click on text to make it disappear.
Control forces
When officers are fired upon, they should immediately seek cover and
attempt to determine the sniper=s position. SRT supervised counter sniper
units will then deal with the threat. When withdrawing from the area,
officers should remember the key point: avoid bunching up. Groups of
officers bunching together behind the same cover make an excellent target.
Remember to use proper cover.
NOTE: Click on hot word Areturn,@ then click on text to make it disappear.
Return fire
Officers must not indiscriminately return fire due to the danger to innocent
civilians and other law enforcement personnel. The National Commission
on Civil Disorder=s study after the 1960's riots found that most deaths in
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Crowd Management
reported sniping incidents were from bullets fired by either police or
National Guard personnel (180). This is not meant to distract from the
seriousness of sniping incidents. It is only to note that the potential
overreaction to such an incident can further endanger police personnel and
innocent bystanders.
NOTE: Click on hot word Aofficer,@ then click on text to make it disappear.
Officer down
In the event an officer is wounded during a sniping incident, he/she should
be evacuated as soon as possible. However, any reckless attempt to rescue
a downed officer may result in additional casualties. Special Response
Teams using protective equipment should be used for such rescues. If
unavailable, a rescue should not be attempted without proper equipment and
a plan of action.
Withdrawal of Control Forces
Inevitably there will be times when patrol forces must withdraw from an area
because they are overwhelmed by the size of the mob. In doing so, every effort
should be made to make a tactical withdrawal from an area. This must be done in
an orderly and deliberate fashion. The mob may view a quick withdrawal as a rout
or victory. No one advocates Afighting a last [email protected]; however, a retreat can be a
moral boost to the mob whose activities can become more intense because they feel
Athe power of the [email protected]
Control forces should re-enter the area only when sufficient personnel have arrived
to deal with the situation or employ more tactically advanced methods or special
purpose tactics. If unable to re-enter, isolation of the area is the best option.
Mobile Tactics
Traditional crowd control tactics were developed in the 1960's to meet the threat of
civil unrest in large urban areas. This was also a time of limited mobility of the
populace, which meant officers had to keep up with the foot pace of the crowds.
In today's fast moving society, traditional slow moving, highly predictable tactics
make control force personnel vulnerable to attack and flanking movements. These
tactics also fatigue officers who must cover great distances on foot, often carrying
up to 30+ pounds of equipment, not to mention the heat retention of body armor.
The tactics can also be effectively countered by small groups and groups using
[email protected] tactics. Mobile concepts are designed to help overcome these obstacles.
This concept allows for a rapid, organized, and disciplined response in sufficient
numbers to handle most situations quickly and decisively.
Current mobile tactics systems in use today:
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There are two schools of thought involving the mobile concept being used
in the United States today. They are the Miami Model and the L.A. County
Sheriff's Model.
The Mobile Field Force Concept - the Miami Model
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal AMiami [email protected]
This system is designed to provide for the rapid, organized, and
disciplined response to civil disorder and crowd confrontations.
Vehicles move field force personnel from one point to another as
rapidly as possible in a unified manner. With this model the parade
of patrol units arriving into the areas is effectively the first show of
force. This parade may encourage some participants to leave the
area, or it may enrage the crowd to act, so the officer should be
prepared to deal with either situation.
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Isolation of the area
Control and dispersal of unruly crowds by a single
unified control force
Ability to arrest multiple offenders
Rescue of officers and citizens by a large number
of officers
Rapid coordinated movement of the control force
from one point to another
Use traditional crowd dispersal tactics
Excellent blocking deployment techniques
Requires personnel to be taken from control force
personnel to safeguard equipment
Use slow moving conventional tactics once
officers dismount from their vehicles
Control force must travel on foot, towards the
crowd and back to their vehicles before
redeploying to another area
Crowd Management
Limited response area, once dismounted
Requires large numbers of officers to be effective
Integrated Mobile Tactics - The L.A. Model
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal AL.A. [email protected]
This concept allows for more flexibility and rapid movement of
personnel. Vehicles are used to not only move officers, they are
used to supplement their numbers. Commanders now have more
flexibility to cover larger areas, using fewer personnel to achieve
the maximum effect quickly. This concept is not a 90 mph
approach, rather it is a deliberate movement of patrol cars, driving
at speeds of 10 to 15 mph. These speeds give the officers the
ability to cover ground quickly, yet it allows rioters time to
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Rapid response
Protection from rocks and bottles
Built in rest periods
More control
Cover larger areas quickly
More flexibility
Requires fewer officers
More police vehicles may be damaged
Greater risk of accidents
Requires more training
Takes officers off the line and puts them in the
Crowd Management
Mobile tactics are built around squad, which is the basic element of crowd
formations, traditional or mobile. Each squad is supervised and controlled
by a sergeant. Squads should have twelve (12) members, with the
sergeant, driver, and two officers in one unit; the other units have four (4)
officers each. Variations can be tailored to meet the manpower of an
individual agency or the situation; however, no fewer than two officers per
unit should be used. This approach is functional with as few as two (2)
officers per patrol unit. This forms squads of at least six (6) officers.
The squad is the smallest element that should confront a crowd. More units
or squads should be available to support the initial squad as needed. They
can also be used to secure flanks and parallel the contact squad as it moves
the crowd, thereby preventing them from being out flanked.
When commanded to move forward, the initial squad moves
toward the crowd with siren, emergency lights, and all other lights
on. Speed should be rapid, but slow enough so officers can
control their own responses.
As the squad of vehicles approaches the crowd, the squad leader
gives out a dispersal command, such as Askirmish line, [email protected]
This is the signal for the lead unit to break to the left and stop, the
second unit pulls straight forward, with the third breaking to the
right. As the units roll to a stop, parallel to each other, the sirens
are turned off and officers quickly dismount to form a skirmish line
in front of the patrol units. If the confrontation occurs at night, the
headlight should be turned off at this point, so as not to backlight
the skirmish line. The blue lights will make the number of officers
appear to be moving or may give the illusion that there are more
officers than there are. As the officers advance, the drivers of the
patrol units move slowly forward with the skirmish line.
Leapfrog technique
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal ALeapfrog [email protected]
This technique is used to exploit the initiative gained by the first squad,
should the crowd retreat. This procedure requires a minimum of two
squads, with one in direct contact with the crowd and the second in
support. In order for the second squad to advance, the first squad must
create an opening. A command might be ABreak! Break! [email protected] or a
blowing of the siren or horn to signal the front quad to break open. This
maneuver requires the center of the skirmish line to move to one side, with
the center unit advancing until they can pull to one side. This opens the
way for the second squad to move forward, until they deploy. The first
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Crowd Management
squad then enters their patrol units and moves forward in a column behind
the second squad. This method can be repeated as many times as is
necessary to disperse the crowd.
Pitchfork technique
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal APitchfork [email protected]
This technique utilizes a full field force and is designed to clear larger areas.
Two squads focus on the crowd, while two other units are positioned to
each side to flank the center squad. Coordination is a key to the success of
this technique.
Rescue technique
Three unit rescue (L.A. Model)
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal AThree Patrol Car
[email protected]
Mobile tactics can be used for rescue of officers and citizens in
hostile encounters. This technique calls for the squad to advance
forward in a column, then forming a horseshoe or open box
formation around the victim, where officers dismount, some
picking up the victim, with others using chemical munitions or
specialty impact munitions to ward off the crowd. Once the victim
is placed in the nearest unit, officers remount and withdraw to
Two patrol unit rescue
NOTE: Click on right arrow 4 times to reveal each ATwo
Patrol Car Rescues (A, B, C, D)[email protected]
A second technique is the two unit approach. Position the first unit
at the front of the [email protected] vehicle, at a 45 degree angle--this is
the contact unit. The driver and drivers side passenger cover the
flank, while the passenger side officers act as the rescuers.
Position the second unit at a 45 degree angle at the rear of the
[email protected] vehicle or scene, with officers deploying to cover the
rescue. The vehicles then back out of the area, keeping the
crowd/rioters in front of them.13
Use of Chemical Agents
The proper use of chemical agents not only helps law enforcement personnel restore
order, but reduces the chances for injury to officers and rioters. On the other hand,
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
if used improperly or indiscriminately, chemical munitions can cause injury and
possibly death. It can also lead to complaints of excessive force. 14
REMEMBER, the use of chemical agents is considered a use of force.
The use of chemical agents began around the year 2000 B.C., when
merchants in India carried ground black pepper in rice paper to ward off
muggers. Through the ages man has refined the use of chemical munitions
from the use of crude methods, such as the burning of pitch tar by the
Spartans to blind and choke their enemies to the chemical agents in use
Introduction to chemical agents
Currently there are four forms of chemical agents used by law enforcement
agencies for crowd control.
HC (Hexachlorethane) - Smoke
Even though smoke is not an irritant agent per se, smoke in and of
itself is irritating to some people. Smoke is effective when used to
break up crowds that are disorderly, but not overtly violent.
Smoke can be used for the following purposes:
Conceal movement
Disorient the crowd
Determine the wind direction
CN (Chloroacetophenone) - discovered in 1869 by a German
Odor: like apple blossoms
Incapacitation factor: 10 to 20 minutes. CN is a fast
acting irritant that affects the upper respiratory passages,
lacrimal glands and eyes. The agents usually begin to
work in 1 to 3 seconds; however, some people may not be
affected for up to 30 minutes.
CN is an irritant that does not affect everyone. Those on
drugs or alcohol may not be affected by this chemical
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Physiological effects: Irritating to the skin, causing a
burning and itching sensation. Flowing of tears, nose
irritation--agents especially affect moist areas of the body.
CN is a lacrimal, meaning it affects the lacrimal glands,
ducts, and sacs around the eyes and in the nasal and sinus
cavities. CS has an added irritant that affects the skin area
by causing a burning sensation.
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal AThe Eye and
Lacrimal [email protected]
CS (Orthochlorbenzalmalononitrile)
Developed by the British in 1928 (B.B. Carson and R.W.
StroughtonBCS from first initial of each discoverer's last name).
CS came to the attention of American officials as a result of its use
by the British during civil unrest on the island of Cyprus in 1961.
Odor: peppery smell
Incapacitating time factor: produces almost immediate
effects in 5 to 10 seconds. Effects can last from 10 to 30
Physiological effects
Extreme burning of the eyes, accompanied by
copious flowing of tears
Involuntary closing of the eyes
Stinging sensation on moist skin
Runny nose, sinus, and nasal drip
Tightness in the chest and throat (feels like a heart
Dizziness or swimming of the head
OC Products - Pepper Mace
The use of pepper as an irritant dates back to the year 2000 B.C.
OC products are currently limited to mace type dispenser systems.
Some field officers are currently carrying this type of agent
(Pepper mace and CAP-STUN). Because OC products are to be
sprayed directly into the eyes of a subject, they are currently less
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
effective when used like traditional chemical munitions. OC
products are very useful in crowd control when used on a
controlled scale on specific individuals, such as those identified for
arrest by arrest teams.
Odor: spicy, peppery smell
Incapacitation time factor
Acts immediately
Almost total incapacitation of subject
Incapacitation usually limited to the one sprayed
Physiological effects
Burning sensation to the eyes
Irritation to the nasal passages and throat
Tight feeling around the chest
OC products cause almost total incapacitation--steps must
be taken to care for the individuals sprayed. Product may
be best used by arrest teams to target persons singled out
for arrest.
Chemical munitions identification chart
Name of Munition
Color Code
Yellow Used to obscure vision and determine wind
Used to disperse crowds or on
barricaded subjects
Riot agent
Orange Best used by arrest teams; currently not
applied on a broad basis in crowd
Other agents you should know about--these agents will not be used as riot agents;
however, they may be encountered when other agencies respond to assist during
periods of civil disorder.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Irritant and sickening
OD Green
Sickening agent; also
called [email protected]
If you come across any of these agents, turn them in to be properly disposed of.
Criteria for selection of riot agents
Although chemical agents are non-lethal by design, the improper
use of these agents can cause serious injury or death. Safety is an
important consideration when an agent is deployed. Never fire or
throw grenades directly into a crowd. Deploy them above or at the
feet of the crowd for a blast dispersion, or near the crowd for a
continuous discharge.
Never use grenades or projectiles designed and intended for
external riot control inside confined areas. Never use excessive
quantities of chemical agents CN or CS.
Always leave an avenue of escape for the crowd.
Effectiveness - agents should:
Produce rapid physiological reaction
Produce chemical effects in low concentration
Permit rapid recovery without lasting effects when
subjects are removed from the contaminated area
Deliverability - agents must be deliverable in sufficient
concentration to be effective.
Non-persistency - agents must be temporary in duration and should
not present major decontamination problems, such as the use of CS
burning munitions in a house or closed area. Persistency is directly
affected by the nature of the agent, the method of dissemination,
weather, and the area contaminated.
Stability - agents should be stable over a wide range of
temperatures and must be compatible with selected delivery
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Acceptability - must be tolerated by the general public.
Chemical agents are intended to be used to supplement, not replace,
sound tactics or disciplined riot control forces.
Forms of chemical munitions and methods of dissemination
Forms of chemical agents
Solids - granulated agents combined with pyrotechnic
Micro pulverized - agent reduces to extremely fine powder
or dust
Liquid - agent suspended in a liquid solvent
Methods of dissemination
Expulsion - the use of explosive or other force to eject
micro pulverized chemical agents
Pyrotechnic - the burning of granulated chemical agents
and a pyrotechnic mix to vaporize the agent and release it
as a submicron aerosol cloud
Fog - the use of hot gases to vaporize a liquid agent
formulation which is subsequently released as a fog cloud
Liquid - the use of an expelling force to project a liquid
chemical agent formulation to a desired target
Delivery systems
There are four systems for the delivery of chemical munitions.
Tactics dictate which system is most appropriate for a given
situation. Choosing the wrong delivery system may make the use
of chemical agents a burden rather than an asset.
Aerosol irritant projectors are one of the most widely used
means of deploying chemical agents.
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Mace projector - shoots a small stream 6-10 feet
40 one-second burst
Crowd Management
Fogger hand-held-wide fog stream 10-12 feet 25
one-second burst
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal AAerosol
[email protected]
Hand delivery system: The throwing of grenades by hand.
Grenades should be thrown underhanded.
NOTE: Click on right arrow 5 times to reveal
AGrenades (A, B, C, D, E)[email protected] Instructors should also
use training aids to supplement hypermedia slides.
Foggers: A dissemination device which operates by rapidly
vaporizing liquid riot agents. A typical fogger will produce
100,000 cubic feet of agent cloud in 26 seconds.
NOTE: Click on right arrow to reveal AFog
[email protected]
Launching systems
37mm system - a low pressure launching system
used to deliver specialized long or short range
Shotgun system - uses a special adapter and blank
shell to lob the munition toward the target area
NOTE: Display 37mm gas gun, shotgun launcher and
blank shell.
Grenade munitions - hand-held or launched
Grenades have a standard military mechanical fuse system, the M201A1.
The M201A1 fuse has a standard delay of 1.5 seconds (0.7 to 2.0) margin
of error.
When deploying a grenade the following procedures will be followed:
Right handed
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Hold grenade in the right hand with the safety lever in the
web of the hand. The safety pin should be straightened
but not removed. This is necessary to allow for the safe
removal of the safety pin before deploying the munition.
Crowd Management
Remove the safety pin, by pulling it toward your mid
section and not away from the body. This procedure
reduces the chances that you will accidentally drop the
Once you have removed the pin, place the pin in your
pocket, in case you need to re-secure the munition, should
it not be deployed.
Left handed
Follow the same procedure as above, except that the grenade is
held inverted in the left hand, so the lever is still securely held in the
web of the hand.
Always throw grenades underhanded to reduce the chances of injury.
Blast dispersion (expulsion grenade)
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Explosive type
These grenades are filled with micro pulverized
The body is weakened; an explosive force
ruptures the grenade ejecting the agent
Non-explosive type
Federal Labs piston driven system to eject agent.
This system also has a time delay fuse system.
Two-second delay for target deployment of 60 to
70 yards; a five-second delay for targets 120
yards away. The five-second delay is important
when the grenade is to be launched. The twosecond delay will be used when the grenade is
hand thrown.
Because the Federal Lab system does not burn, the
grenade can be hand-held and used as a hand-held
blast expulsion system.
Hand-held method of deployment
Crowd Management
Check fuse selector position to ensure it is
set for a two-second delay.
Note: Do not position pointer system
between the 2 and 5 position. The pointer
must be on one or the other. Grenade will
not function if pointer is in off position.
Grasp grenade body with either hand,
maintain pressure on the safety lever with
the thumb; point base (rifling band)
toward target.
Grasp pull ring with free hand, remove
from grenade; place ring in pocket in case
it is needed to re-secure the safety lever;
grenade is now armed.
Point discharge end of grenade toward the
target area, arm extended and grenade
pointed slightly upward. Fire agent over
the crowd so the agent will rain down
giving maximum effect. Do not fire
directly into rioters= faces. Agent can also
be directed towards the rioters= feet.
To discharge, retain firm grip on grenade
body, remove thumb from safety lever,
allow lever to release. Grenade will
discharge 2 seconds after safety lever is
released. Agent will cover area of 15 to
20 feet in distance and 5 to 8 feet in width
at its peak.
Re-securing the grenade: if it is decided
that the grenade will not be deployed, you
need to re-secure the safety lever.
Maintain thumb pressure on safety lever
and re-insert the safety pin.
Note: Always keep the discharge end of
the grenade pointed away from yourself.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Federal Lab system uses a CO2 cartridge
expulsion system; can be used indoors or
outdoors; designed for use where non-burning
munitions are needed.
Crowd Management
Pyrotechnic dissemination
The release of agent through a burning process
Agent is mixed with smoke, which serves as an identifier
showing accuracy, area of coverage and direction of
Method affected by quantity of agent in mixture (typical
mixture 40% agent to 60% fuel/smoke)
Nature of prevailing wind and weather conditions, as well
as the design of the munition can affect its effectiveness
Tactical use of chemical agents
When deploying chemical munitions officers should consider these three
major factors.
Meteorological conditions
Wind - used to spread agent
Head wind
Following wind
Flanking wind
Mechanical turbulence
Thermal turbulence
Heat will cause riot agents to dissipate quicker
Cooler temperatures will make the agent more
Rain will reduce the effectiveness of munitions
Characteristics of the chemical munition
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Liquid and gas dissipate quicker than powder forms
Crowd Management
Gas forms of munitions expand about 20% in 100 feet
(approximately 20-foot spread in 100 feet)
Target nature
Chemical munitions must be deployed in sufficient concentrations
to produce the desired effect. More munitions will be needed for
crowd control than will be required for a barricaded subject.
Assuming there is a normal wind of 5 to 10 mph, the output of
burning munitions will expand about 20% of the down wind
direction. Therefore, officers deploying chemical munitions should
determine a line of release to gain the maximum effect of the agent
on the crowd.
NOTE: Click on right arrow twice to reveal AIdeal Release
Patterns,@ Head Wind,@ and AFollowing [email protected]
Large groups
Officers must use sufficient agent to effectively cover the
entire crowd. Line of release and conversion line should
be far enough back from the crowd to reduce the threat of
Athrow [email protected] and maximize the coverage of the crowd
with chemical agent.
Important: an escape route for rioters must be
determined before chemical agents are deployed.
Small groups
Recent events continue to show the need to consider the
use of chemical agents to disperse small groups (usually 25
to 50 persons). However, the use of chemical munitions
should only be used when the crowd is disorderly to the
extent of throwing objects, physically attacking officers, or
there is imminent threat of either. When deploying
chemical munitions on small groups, officers should use
low volume munitions, so as not to affect uninvolved
bystanders of the neighborhood.
No legitimate police objective can be achieved by the indiscriminate spraying
of chemical agents onto a crowd. Also, care must be taken to avoid
discharging agent so that it only affects the front half of a crowd. This will
place incapacitated individuals between the crowd and the front ranks of the
police lines.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
First aid for exposure to chemical agents
General - complete incapacitation
Remove affected person from the contaminated area to an
open, upwind position
Remain calm
Major discomfort should disappear within 10 - 20 minutes
Eyes - burning sensation, heavy flow of tears, involuntary closing
of eyes
Keep eyes open, facing wind
Do not rub eyes
Tearing helps clear the eyes
If particles of agent are lodged in the eyes, wash out with
large amounts of water
Skin - stinging or burning sensation on moist skin areas; blisters
from very heavy concentrations can occur
Sit and remain quiet to reduce sweating
Expose the affected areas to the air
Gross contamination can be relieved by flushing with clear
water for at least 10 minutes
For CS, a solution of 5 to 10% sodium carbonate--sodium
carbonate is superior to water and needs to be used only in
small amounts. A baking soda solution (sodium
bicarbonate) will also work, but more slowly.
Nose - irritation, burning sensation, nasal discharge
Breathe normally
Blow nose to remove discharge
Nose drops should help if discomfort is severe
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Chest - irritation, burning sensation, coughing, feeling of
suffocation, tightness in chest, often accompanied by a feeling of
Victim should relax and keep calm
Talking reassuringly to the victim will help to relieve
his/her discomfort and prevent panic
Note: For severe or prolonged effects, complications, and contamination of
wounds, seek medical attention as soon as possible. 15
Legal concerns about chemical munitions
Chemical munitions have been generally accepted by the courts and public
as an acceptable use of force to disperse riotous crowds and avert what the
police could reasonably regard as threatened violence. 16
From 1934 to the present, only fifteen cases regarding the use of chemical
agents have reached the appellate courts in the U.S. No case has, to date,
been deliberated by a federal court. Therefore, it can be reasonably
assumed that the use of chemical munitions can be legally justified.
The only major issues considered by the courts have been the training of
officers and the method of deployment (e.g., firing the agent straight into
the faces of subjects).17
NOTE: Click on red square then [email protected] throughout to reveal training
During this block of instruction we have identified the different classes of crowds
and learned to differentiate between a casual crowd and a mob. We also identified
the specific duties of a law enforcement officer when assigned to a potentially
violent demonstration or at a nonviolent protest. We practiced crowd control
formations utilizing riot batons, and we experienced the effects of chemical
munitions as a crowd dispersal agent.
Questions from Class
Closing Statement
NOTE: Click on left arrow to return to opening slide.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
Crowd management is an experience that you may not encounter very often in your
day-to-day responsibilities. However, if a crowd is not managed properly, the
situation can escalate to violence very quickly. We must protect the public's right to
assemble and demonstrate, and we must protect individuals and property owners in
the vicinity of the demonstration. It is the goal of this lesson plan to provide
information to do both of these tasks equally well.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
Crowd Management
International Association of Chiefs of Police, Riot Control Tactics for New Urban
Violence (Arlington, VA: I.A.C.P.), p. 16.
Ibid., p. 17.
Ibid., p. 20.
Ibid., p. 24.
Ibid., p. 32.
Ibid., p. 67.
ACivil Disorder,@ Basic Law Enforcement Training (Salemburg, NC: N. C. Justice
Academy, 1994).
I.A.C.P., Riot Control Tactics, p. 7.
Ibid., p. 60-61.
Ibid., p. 4.
Rex Applegate, Riot Control Materials and Techniques (Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole
Corp., 1969), p. 115.
L.A. County Sheriff=s Department, Civil Disorder - Mobile Tactics (1994).
Ibid., p. 7.
1988), p. 10.
Chemical Munitions Training Course Summary (Hart Valley, MD: A.A.T. Corp.,
Martinez vs. Kilday 117 S.W. 2nd Texas Court of Civil Appeals, 1988.
Chemical Munitions Training Summary, p. 12.
Basic Law Enforcement Training
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