FBINAA Magazine Q1-2022-final-v4

Continued from "Public Order Policing in the U.S.: The Crisis and the Cure", on page 10

As modern-day policing’s father, Sir Robert Peel , pointed out, “The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.” Yet, “The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.” The delicate balancing act of preserving and protecting citizens’ First Amend - ment rights vs. the mandate to prevent crime and disorder must be understood and respected. All organizations in the democrat- ic world, including police, exist because of public consent, and the foundation of that consent is public trust. Trust is a precious and precarious thing. It is hard to get, easy to lose, and difficult to rebuild. Public trust in policing may be at an all-time low. Trust in public order policing depends on effective, reliable, professional, and unbiased policing. This involves and neces- sitates specialized training, specialized equipment, customized environmental scanning that goes beyond current crime-focused geographic data analysis, and a lead role given to public order policing specialists. The result is a public understanding that public order policing supports and encourages the power of free speech and peaceful assembly; it is not there to suppress or quell free speech through perceptions of fear and intimidation. In order to prevent negative outcomes and blemishes on agencies charged with policing First Amendment gatherings, public order policing must be professionalized and specialized within U.S. law enforcement. Proper training and tactics will provide improved community relations, improved de-escalation capabilities, positive optics, and decrease the reliance on higher levels of force. Additionally, proper personal protective equip- ment (PPE) will provide officers with safety and confidence, which leads to positive use of force outcomes. Currently, the lack of standardized public order equipment has routinely resulted in unnecessary and improper tactics being used. The inseparable relationship between equipment, tactics and training must place tactics as the driving, evolutionary force to improve equipment and the police response to public order. This will provide public order commanders, increased tactical options when dealing with different types of crowds, groups and organizations The overwhelming majority of U.S. law enforcement agen - cies employ less than 25 sworn officers. As such, most U.S. law enforcement agencies depend upon mutual aid to supplement their capabilities during major critical incidents. This reliance highlights the need for standardization among agencies and mobilized regional forces to ensure compatibility and adherence with best practices. To be certain, police response to public order incidents must be proportionate, as well as lawful and legitimate to avoid harmful missteps and strain upon public trust. Today, it can be strongly argued that public order policing is still not fully accepted by police executives as an important spe- cialty unto its own. Policing priorities, or lack thereof, are easily identified through language and actions. Regarding public order policing, we hear the language of, “There is no money for training and equipment,” “It can’t happen here,” and “We’ll look into it next year.” Agencies have spent tremendous time and effort develop - ing Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) units, and mistakenly believe that SWAT can do the job of a trained public order team. But that is not true. When SWAT officers are tasked with a job for which they are poorly trained and ill equipped, the number of officer and citizen injuries rise, property is damaged, the com - munity begins questioning the law enforcement leadership, civil suits enter the courts, and officers are out of work for long-term

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rehabilitation from injuries. Lost in this dynamic is public trust in policing. International standards have been developed for SWAT, fo - rensics, police canines, and other police specialists. It is overdue for public order policing to be on equal footing with these other specialists. In order to grow and maintain trust in policing, the role and specialization of public order policing must be made a high priority. What is required is a dedication of time, effort, money equipment, and a national standard to make a specialty service aligned with the current expanding public order environ - ment. Moreover, top-level police executives must be intimately knowledgeable in the dynamics and best practices of public order policing prior to commanding such incidents so they can develop effective strategies to maintain the peace or command a return to normalcy. An investment in public order units is a straightforward, cost- benefit calculation. The investment involves time, money, and resources. The benefit of this investment is public and officer safety, protection, and proactive police action to protect all people’s rights and to protect property and businesses. And from that, the largest profit is realized in public confidence and trust in professional policing plus a strong underscoring in the American right to peaceful assembly and free speech. The upfront costs of public order units may be high, but with federal funding and pooling of resources through memorandums of understanding and mutual aid agreements, agencies do not have to bear the costs alone. Proper planning, equipment, training, and bench- marking will ensure that the questions from civilian oversight, courts, media, and family members can be answered. This can all take root with a commitment to professionalizing and specializing public order in U.S. policing through recognized best practices and national standards. References 1 Office of Inspector General – U.S. Department of the Interior, “Review of U.S. Park Police Actions at Lafayette Park”, June 2021, https://www.oversight.gov/sites/de - fault/files/oig-reports/DOI/SpecialReviewUSPPActionsAtLafayetteParkPublic.pdf 2 Ibid About the Authors: Anthony J. Raganella is the founder and CEO of NY Blue Line Consulting Group, a company that provides law enforcement training and consulting services nation -

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