Protest Response: Protecting Democracy and the Public

Law enforcement has to walk a fine line between protecting people’s rights to peaceably assemble and protecting the public and themselves when things turn violent. The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the National Policing Institute (NPI) have teamed up to “address these challenges and provide recommendations for state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies responding to mass demonstrations.”

For their report, 21st Century Protest Response: Promoting Democracy and Advancing Community and Officer Safety, NPI studied after-action reviews (AARs), organized two virtual town hall meetings with 21 panelists and 500 attendees, hosted a set of roundtables and focus groups for stakeholder input, and held two workshops to finalize their recommendations.

The key recommendations in the report focus on the following:

  1. Situational Awareness–Understanding the Protest Operating Environment
  2. Community Relationship Building and Involvement
  3. Planning and Training
  4. Response Strategies and Tactics
  5. Communication
  6. Officer Safety and Wellness
  7. After-Action Review / Follow up

Read the report to learn more!


For more resources related to this piece, check out HSDL’s Featured Topics on Mass Gatherings or other resources related to protests and law enforcement.  Please note an HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.

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