U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Police Practice: Riot Response: An Innovative Approach

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 66 Issue: 1 Dated: (January 1997) Pages: 8-11
K Hubbs
Date Published
4 pages
The SWAT Special Response Team of the police department of San Diego, Calif. has developed the Augmented Skirmish Line and the Tango Team as two innovative approaches to dealing with riots and other civil disturbances.
The Augmented Skirmish Line overcomes the problem of the excessively large span of control involved in the standard skirmish line with one leader. The augmented skirmish line divides the entire group of police officers into smaller element groups. Each group has an element leader. The overall leader is called the Alpha leader and gives commands to the element leaders. This approach provides improved command and control of the skirmish line. The Tango Team provides an alternative approach when a crowd becomes unruly and starts throwing objects at the police. Tango stands for Tactically Aggressive and Necessary Gambit of Options. The Tango Team has eight members. They can remain out of sight behind the skirmish line. When they are needed, the skirmish line opens. The team goes through and makes a wedge formation. The team then essentially dances with the crowd. The leader identifies individual targets and communicates through tactical communication equipment that includes throat microphones and molded earpieces. The team can use any of four levels of force. These range from a bullhorn to sound/flash diversionary devices coupled with the firing of baton rounds and beanbags at individuals in the crowd. These two added options can help prevent either overreactions or underreactions by police involved in riot control. Figures and photographs