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Conference on Civil Disorders, Washington, DC, June 30 - July 1, 1980 - Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
26 pages
Police attitudes and performance designed to prevent civil disorders, and planning for and action in civil disorders are discussed in material presented to police chief executives at the Conference on Civil Disorders.
While police have no direct responsibility for the debilitating socioeconomic conditions that generally spawn civil disorders, particularly involving minorities, the police do have a responsibility to become advocates for change that will help reduce the justified frustrations of the disadvantaged. Short-term prevention of civil disorders can be served by the police through a review of departmental and personnel attitudes and actions toward minority communities. Each department must have a strict policy on the use of deadly force, and police-community relations programs must aim at counteracting misperceptions of police misconduct. Police human relations training and the development of a police-community information system can do much to ease the tensions between the police and citizens who feel abused by the criminal justice system. In preparing for the eventuality of civil disorder, a comprehensive plan for handling civil disorders should be created and continually updated. Supervisory and line personnel must be trained to operate as a disciplined, cohesive unit under tight command and control. Officers must be trained in methods of behavioral control other than the use or threat of deadly force. Formal written agreements for emergency acquisition of equipment must be created, and equipment must be periodically inspected and tested to ensure its readiness for use. An emergency mobilization plan to permit immediate reponse must be established and continually revised, and the relationship between local police agencies and law enforcement agencies in other and broader jurisdictions must be determined in strategy planning. A bibliography (about 15 references) from the conference is included.