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Crowd Management and Civil Disobedience Guidelines

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2003
35 pages
These guidelines are intended for California law enforcement agencies to consider when addressing the broad range of issues related to crowd management and civil disobedience.
These guidelines reflect the generally accepted principles by which agencies respond to lawful and unlawful assemblies. After the statement of each of the 14 guidelines, suggestions are offered for its implementation. The first guideline states that law enforcement agencies should establish policies and procedures that recognize and address law enforcement objectives and provide for the legal protection of the constitutional rights of all persons; and the second guideline indicates that agencies should use the Incident Command System as mandated by the standardized Emergency Management System when managing crowds and acts of civil disobedience. The next three guidelines state that agencies should establish policies and procedures designed to manage crowds; develop procedures to identify, develop, and use stakeholders; and have managers and supervisors be guided by their agency's policies and procedures as well as be familiar with the Law Enforcement Guide for Emergency Operations. The sixth guideline states that agencies should be prepared to respond to various types of crowds and recognize behavior patterns or characteristics. This is followed by a guideline that recommends that each agency develop tactical precepts to address the management of crowds and civil disobedience. Other guidelines are as follows: establish procedures for declaring unlawful assemblies and issuing dispersal orders; develop use-of-force polices, procedures, and training for managing crowds and civil disobedience; establish policies and procedures for the deployment of nonlethal chemical agents during incidents of civil disobedience; develop procedures for managing mass arrests and bookings; establish procedures to investigate and prosecute criminal activity associated with civil disobedience; have policies and procedures for documenting crowd management and civil disobedience incidents; and establish procedures for training law enforcement command and line members in managing crowds and civil disobedience situations. An information guide addresses protestor tactics, trends, and techniques. Also included are terms and definitions, applicable California statutes, and applicable case law on various relevant issues in crowd management and civil disobedience.