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Social Protests in the 1990s: Planning a Response

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 65 Issue: 1 Dated: (January 1996) Pages: 1-7
G A Allgeyer
Date Published
7 pages
Using the Melbourne Police Department's (Florida) strategy for preparing officers to control anti-abortion demonstrations at abortion clinics, this article recommends an approach for preparing a police agency to manage protests and demonstrations.
Major issues today that often bring out demonstrators into public areas are abortion, nuclear proliferation, environmental protection, service and access rights of the physically challenged, and continued civil rights concerns. Any community with product-oriented or service-oriented businesses or military installations may be targeted for action, either by local activists or national organizations. In the case of the Melbourne Police Department (MPD), the issue has been abortion and protests and demonstrations in the area of the only abortion clinic in the county. Issues discussed in this article regarding the MPD's planning and response for such demonstrations are intelligence gathering, the use of force, training, logistics, and interagency coordination. General principles drawn from the MPD's experience in planning for protects focus on a police agency's assessment of a community's potential for demonstrations and protests; planning that involves task determination, personnel allocation, and deployment; advance training; incremental implementation of a response plan; and after-action debriefings.