You’d think after the Capitol Storming and a general year of protests, politicians would be talking about the best tactics in terms of safety and effectiveness in terms of crowd control. But best I can tell, the calls are simply to ban every police tool used.
Police (really through no fault but their own) have trended to no longer using batons. This is a big mistake. Especially as crowd control, they’re great as a deterrent and for keeping distance, which is really important when police are outnumbered. https://www.policemag.com/340095/do-we-still-need-batons
People have called for the banning tear gas. Certainly it’s use should be limited and regulated, but it does usually work at crowd dispersal. If not tear gas, what then? https://www.sciencealert.com/tear-gas-is-so-often-abused-it-should-be-banned-researchers-argue
Last year a judge temporarily banned Detroit police from using batons, shields, gas, rubber bullets, chokeholds or sound cannons against Black Lives Matter protesters. OK, but what should police do when a crowd turns on them? https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2020/09/04/chokehold-police-tactics-against-protesters-temporarily-banned/5721952002/
In LA, there’s been a call to ban the use of police horses as a form of crowd control. Horses are really effective, especially as an alternative to tear gas. If not horses, what is Plan B? https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-01-22/lapds-use-of-horses-at-protest-condemned-by-civil-rights-leaders
New York City criminalized police use of choke holds. OK. (As a citizen, you can still use them.) At the same time, though, they banned pressure on the _diaphragm_ in the course of an arrest. That makes arresting a resisting suspect nearly impossible. https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2020/10/06/manhattan-judge-upholds-city-law-banning-nypd-use-of-choke-holds-in-suit-filed-by-police-unions/?slreturn=20210025111507
DC recently banned OC spray (AKA mace) and all chemical irritants at protests. Also banned were less-lethal projectiles, like rubber bullets. So what does that leave? https://www.npr.org/local/305/2020/06/25/883283633/would-d-c-s-police-reform-bill-have-stopped-m-p-d-from-pepper-spraying-protesters
Police is the US don’t use water cannons and dogs on crowds. That’s our deserved legacy for Civil Rights Era police brutality. But other countries do use these tools, and water cannons can be very effective. But we don’t use them. https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2021/01/riot-police-use-water-cannon-tear-gas-to-break-up-demos-in-eindhoven-amsterdam/
NYPD sometimes claims it doesn’t even know what “kettling” is, which is odd, since they do. Now it’s not technically “kettling” if people can get out, which matters. But kettling is also an effective tactic in some circumstances. Should it never be used? https://www.amny.com/news/nypd-denies-ever-using-kettling-tactic-against-protesters/
If police can’t use any crowd control tactic, crowds won’t be controlled. Eventually the public will say “enough.” But outrage is bad way to make policy. https://nypost.com/2021/01/22/portland-seattle-residents-slam-weak-response-to-antifa/
You can’t ban every tool in the police officer’s belt and then tell police facing a hostile crowd, “OK, now just do your job and don’t hurt anybody.” Inevitable, things like this will happen. https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article248729060.html
Tasers have a role. But they’re vastly overused. And they are not a silver bullet. They’re also all but useless in crowd control situations. And what happens when Tasers fail? Which is a lot of the time. Then what? https://www.ctinsider.com/news/nhregister/article/Tasers-fail-more-often-than-they-work-with-fatal-15002785.php
People, politicians, and police need to have a serious discussion about crowd control tools, tactics, and techniques. How and when they’re used. How to hold police accountability for their misuse. We need to be having these discussions now, before and not after police face the next angry mob. None of this is happening.