Police forces in Charlotte, NC, are preparing for unruly crowds when the 2012 Democratic National Convention comes to town, according to recent reports.
“Charlotte’s police department is already stocking up on riot gear and training officers in riot-control techniques in preparation for the event,” Newser reports.
Although the city already has a few hundred trained riot police, they have decided to recruit almost every one of them for intensive riot training—just in case.
So what goes into “intensive” riot training?
“It’s a very controlled, measured response with a lot of practice,” said Deputy Chief Harold Medlock. Medlock is overseeing the training, which also includes hundreds of officers from nearby police and sheriff’s departments, according to WSOCTV.com.
“The point of some of the tactics and the maneuvers that we use is to allow folks to have the time to do what we’re asking them to do,” Medlock said in the report.
“We want them to hear us as we move and do the things that we need to do, so you’ll hear a lot of verbalization from our officers and one of the things you’ll hear is, ‘Move back!’” he added.
Medlock made sure to note that riot training is not unheard of for the city’s police officers. Hundreds of Charlotte’s officers have already been trained in riot control and have actually been called in to handle trouble in uptown twice in the last five years, reports WSOCTV.
But given the fact that the DNC will most likely be bigger than anything they’ve handled in recent years, Charlotte has decided to call up several officers from their regular beats to participate in the training.
“We are structured so that we have officers that can backfill in the divisions that send officers out,” Medlock said in the report. “Our citizens should see no change in service delivery.”
By Medlock’s measurement, the Democratic National Convention will be the “biggest event the city has hosted.”
“We’re going to do everything that we can to make sure that it’s a safe and secure event,” Medlock said.
In case you were wondering, the Federal government, not Charlotte, will be financing all the training, gear and extra hours. But again, this is not unheard of.
According to four police departments tasked with protecting people at the DNC, the Feds usually supply about $50 million in grants for equipment and training, reports WSCOTV.
Exit question: As mentioned before, preparing for riots ahead of the RNC or DNC is nothing new. But given the swelling numbers of Occupy Wherever protests, and the magnitude of the DNC, do you think measurements being taken by Charlotte will be adequate to handle what could possibly be a very, very unruly crowd?