Officer Safety During Riots

Riot gear, helmets, and shields. These are some of the protective equipment that police officers use to help keep them safe during large scale rioting, such as what took place recently at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Fueled by passion or alcohol or just those who want to get in on the action, peaceful protestors can become violent. And crowds can assemble anywhere and anytime they want. Of course, there are permit procedures to follow, but the gathering itself is protected by the constitution of the United States. So, law enforcement officers must be prepared for the worse when they are in the line of duty. They have the unruly and difficult task of doing their best to control crowds.

Formations of officers in uniform, who move in a trained manner, can be quite effective in separating or moving a crowd. With a limited number of resources how should they focus their energy? Strategy or tactics or neither of these. Ask yourself, what would you do? How would you handle the crowd? I would have done this, or I would have done that. Easy to say and judge, but would feel completely different when in the moment.

It’s a scary time in our world right now. Between COVID-19 and political forces, coupled with financial strains, education challenges, and all of us doing our best to keep our heads above water, law enforcement officers are here to help keep us safe. Let’s do our best to support them. Even the most seasoned and trained officers make mistakes.

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