Signals for dynamic crowd control tactics

A riot has many moving parts and to quell one, police must have many moving options


Officers facing a crowd as it becomes violent must be able to perform pre-trained orderly movements on command in the midst of chaos to be effective. The uncoordinated, disjointed movements of untrained officers will have a tendency to not only be ineffective but may add to the chaos.

The signals for tried and true classic movements like columns, lines, wedges and echelons, were described in a previous article. We will discuss here movements that are much more dynamic but have a time and place where they can be used with effect.

To have these options available, commanders must be pre-trained in their tactical applications and signals and the teams they lead must be trained in how to execute these options in the midst of the incessant roar of a riot. Pre-trained commands will have to be given visually and audibly by the pre-trained commander and understood by a pre-trained team.

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