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Mayhem Patrol

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 34 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2007 Pages: 10-14,16,18,20
Ronnie Garrett
Date Published
February 2007
9 pages
Utilizing Madison, Wisconsin’s annual Halloween party as an example, this article examines how efficient and effective police planning can keep special events from spinning out of control.
In 2002, Madison, Wisconsin’s 2002 annual Halloween party, known as Freak Fest on State Street resulted in a riot. Drunken costumed party participants harassed police, threw bottles, overturned bicycle racks, and vandalized stores along State Street requiring more than 100 officers in riot gear to restore order and disperse the crowd of approximately 65,000 people. Since this time, the Madison Police Department has created a multi-jurisdictional effort comprised of an 80-member Special Events Team. There are a number of details identified which need to be considered when utilizing a multi-jurisdictional effort: identifying communication needs, training together, the use of standard equipment, having an arrest procedure, and having Incident Action Plans. This article discusses the importance of preplanning security for special events such as this one. It is stressed that regardless of an event’s size there are core points the must be met, such as knowing the crowd, determining whether the need is for crowd control or crowd management and know the difference, and the continuous training of officers in both crowd control and crowd management. The ultimate goal is for both the police and attendee at special events to come out on the other end feeling good, having enjoyed themselves, and having learned from the experience.