Crowd and riot response for the 21st century

With the Republican and Democratic conventions looming in Minneapolis and Denver, now is a good time for us to consider how our agencies will respond to large crowd and riot-control situations. Some departments have massive annual events requiring their response. The streets of Pasadena are lined with more than a million parade-watchers on New Year’s Day and the French Quarter of New Orleans is filled with throngs of people every year at Mardi Gras. Both the Pasadena and New Orleans PDs would be overwhelmed if they attempted to deal with these events on their own and each have had long standing agreements (and response plans) with other agencies. But it is one thing to manage large crowds that may act unruly. It is something else again to deal with sophisticated adversaries using tactics against us ranging from passive resistance to black bloc aggression. Crowd and riot-control tactics and equipment must grow and adapt to deal with all challenges that we might face.

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