Plan early and prepare your gear for mutual aid deployment

During any period of widespread protests, it is important to prep both your equipment and your family in case you are deployed to assist with crowd control


Following the Supreme Court’s decision on June 24 to overturn Roe vs. Wade, many citizens took to the streets in protest. As the day progressed, I watched some peaceful protests become violent.

As it is only a matter of time before my mobile field force team is called to protect communities across Southern California, I wanted to ensure both myself and my team are ready to deploy out-of-county for multiple days. This includes preparing duty gear, personal clothing/toiletries and even preparing family members for your absence.

Ensuring my gear, personal belongings and family are ready for my potential deployment makes it less stressful for me and allows me to get in the proper head space for planning a deployment.

Ensuring my gear, personal belongings and family are ready for my potential deployment makes it less stressful for me and allows me to get in the proper head space for planning a deployment.
Ensuring my gear, personal belongings and family are ready for my potential deployment makes it less stressful for me and allows me to get in the proper head space for planning a deployment. (Photo/Jarrett Morris)

Duty gear

My mobile field force gear has been in my bag or our deployment trailer for the better part of two years. Inspecting your gear before an out-of-county deployment is essential. Here’s a summary of my inspection checklist:

  • Firearm: I make sure my firearm is clean and functioning correctly. I change the batteries on my red dot and gun light (packing extra batteries).
  • Gun belt: I ensure the belt, keepers and all attachments are in good condition and working correctly.
  • Holster: I check my holster separately from my gun belt because it is a vital piece of equipment. I make sure each safety function piece is working and in good condition. I make sure to replace any parts with significant wear.
  • Radio: As a team manager, the radio is an essential tool on my belt. I ensure my radio is functioning and in good working condition. I also ensure I have extra charged batteries and a charging station packed for deployment.
  • Helmet/face shield: I check my helmets for any cracks, check the strap for wear and tear, and ensure all the interior cushions are appropriately placed. You could be wearing this helmet for several hours and several days. I also check the face shield for any scratches and ensure it is in good working condition.
  • Gas mask: If you have been involved in a riot, you know you need your gas mask to function correctly. For a proper fit, I check my gas mask for any damage and ensure nothing is wrong with the seal. Don’t forget to check the bag too.

You will feel prepared and resilient by taking the time to ensure your gear is ready to go for possible deployment.

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Personal clothing and toiletries

In 2020, when we were deployed to assist with the civil unrest in Southern California, we slept in a basketball arena that had been transformed into a COVID-19 hospital. It was an experience for us because there were no amenities, including food or showers. Our team arrived at 4 a.m. and the lights came on in the area at about 6 a.m. It taught me a valuable lesson in ensuring that my team and I were prepared to sleep anywhere when deployed. I always keep an out-of-town bag in my vehicle, a lesson I learned from my days as a narcotics detective. The following is what I keep in my bag:

  • An extra uniform shirt and pants
  • Enough white undershirts, underwear and socks to last me a week
  • A shaving kit and nail clippers
  • Shampoo, face and body wash
  • Face lotion and sunscreen
  • Workout clothes and shoes
  • Clothing suitable for sleeping in an open environment with others

I also keep a sleeping bag with a built-in pillow in my vehicle. This sleeping bag came in handy when sleeping in the COVID-19 hospital.

When you might be deployed and not have access to showers or freshwater, you will want to wash your face and body. I have found cleaning wipes, like Combat Wipes, refreshing. If you have enough for your team, they will greatly appreciate it.

Don’t forget snacks and water. If possible, make sure you drop by your local grocery store before deployment to grab enough food to last at least 24 hours. We have been staged in locations where we did not have access to food for several hours. If you are a team manager or leader, and time permits, grab snacks, water and sports drinks for your team.

Again, with some preparation, you will be ready for anything.

RELATED: A 15-point plan to prevent or survive a large disturbance

Family

As you prepare to deploy to civil disobedience, media coverage of events will begin to cause stress for your significant other and children. If time permits, I ensure I spend quality time with each of them. Early preparations may allow you to have this time available. Even taking the family to the park or on a bike ride will be meaningful and help calm the stress they may experience with your looming deployment.

Have a conversation with your significant other. Make sure you give them the time to ask questions about your deployment and provide them with as much honest information as possible. They will want to know where you are going, how long you will be gone and if you will be safe. You may not have all the answers but ensure that you will get the information to them as soon as possible.

Most importantly, before leaving, ensure you have a calm demeanor, and your adrenaline is not causing you to ignore them or rush out the door without ensuring you give each of them a hug and kiss and tell them you love them.

These acts will ensure they are better prepared for your absence and will be less stressed if they are prepared. If they are less stressed, you will be in a better mindset to perform your assigned ask in a dangerous environment.

If you can plan early and prepare your gear, you will be more resilient for your deployment. If you are more resilient, you will have a better chance of performing safely, be less complacent and be a better team member.

RELATED: Managing police stress to strengthen relationships at home

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