police cyclist can respond and manage crowds buys time to make decisions. The police cyclist provides a constant presence with the crowd, which is a clear deterrent for criminal behavior. The mechanical advantage of the bi- cycle gives several advantages, most signifi cantly the ability to keep up with these coordinated, fast-moving, and dynamic crowds. However, despite our overall success at managing crowds, protester tactics have recently evolved. There are also organized groups bent on causing injury and prop- erty destruction. They train to neutralize our bike tactics. Something as simple as the protesters increasing their speed by running or also riding bicycles requires su- pervisors to make faster decisions in order to continue to effectively manage these specifi c types of crowds. Doing so requires training and planning. Preparing supervisors of these bike units


to make timely and effective decisions that comport with policy and law takes specifi c training and a full understanding of the ca- pabilities of bicycle units. This is especially true if these events are rare in your jurisdic- tion and you have little or no experience in dealing with them.

Department Policy and the Laws This may seem obvious, but it is important for supervisors to have a good grasp of case law at a federal, state and local level. Contact your city, county or state attorney and go over some of these issues. In review of the various relative laws, supervisors should understand how that applies to strategies of enforcement and if their cur- rent procedures and policies support this. Sometimes department policies are more restrictive than the law; sometimes laws have evolved beyond policy. As demonstrations necessarily involve freedom of expression and exercise of First Amendment rights, knowing the legal boundaries is paramount. It is important to have an understanding of current policy on Use of Force relating to demonstrations or riots. Do you have a separate policy? If

he speed with which the

Supervisors must understand crowds and crowd psychology.

not, reach out to some of the other agencies in your state to see what they have and fi nd out how it has worked for them. Understand that during large protests,

there is a very real potential for streets to be clogged with pedestrian and vehicular traf- fi c. This makes it extremely diffi cult for any car or van-based resources, including super- visors, to stay with your bike resources and the demonstration if it becomes mobile. If fi eld command is separated, does your

policy, training, or approved procedures support your bike squads taking necessary action? Evaluate your policy as well as training to see if it supports the increased capabilities that your bicycle resources give you. When evaluating your policy, consider these questions. Do supervisors of bicycle squads have clear authority for nec- essary independent decision making? Are the Use of Force guidelines clear regard- ing crowd control? Are guidelines clear on respecting First Amendment rights? Are guidelines clear and specifi c on reporting actions, especially Use of Force? This will not only assist the bicycle unit supervisor but also give clear guidance to the bicycle offi cers to make confi dent, informed decisions, which makes each offi cer more effective in his/her actions. Having clarity and understanding on what decisions you can or cannot make, with supportive policies, not only assists the su- pervisors in making timely, effective, and lawful decisions but articulating why they did that later to the court, your chief, gov-

erning body, or public after the dust settles.

Bicycle Demonstration Tactics Those in charge need to be familiar with their bike unit’s training and tactics. This gives the supervisor and the bike squads a common understanding and keeps ev- eryone on the same page. It is important to know what tactics the bike units have, why those tactics were developed, and the strengths and limitations of those tactics. Understanding the capabilities of bicycle squads is critical for supervisors to prop- erly deploy the bike squads to varying situations that maximize the effectiveness of the bicycle units. One successful tactic is the ‘Mobile Fence

Line.’ This is a squad tactic that uses the coordinated movement (picking up the bicycle and moving it forward one or two steps) of the bicycle line to move forward. This is done in a manner that is disciplined, uniform and deliberate. This movement is intended for short distances and to gain the compliance of the crowd to move back and/or to gain space as needed. The supervisor familiar with this tactic understands that it can be exhausting over long distances for the offi cers. Over long distances, this tactic will not maintain the same unity and discipline of movement, which will reduce the effect on the crowd. This may be a good tactic to initiate the group to move and then followed up with other squad tactics to maintain this move- 55

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