Written Exercise 7
Preparation is crucial to the success of whatever actions get intended to be taken concerning the Democratic-Republican National Convention (DRNC) event in Miami, Florida. The purpose of the mass arrest and mass casualty plan for action for the DRNC special event is to outline proper handling and safety of mass casualties and detentions. The Mass Arrest/Mass Casualty Subcommittee is responsible for preparing the action plan for the special event. The subcommittee gets led by Major Louis Warren, the principal planner and overall Incident Commander for Security of the DRNC special event. It also comprises of two co-chairs, Captain Barry Jackson and Captain Steven Black among other members. The subcommittee identifies several protestors’ rights, safety, security, communication and command issues associated with mass arrests and mass casualties and suggest appropriate recommendations and actions.
A unified DRNC command for all law enforcement agencies is a significant factor in the success of the DRNC special event action plan. A unified command not only allows for the coordination of all efforts by the law enforcement agencies but also allows for effective communication with the agencies. The overall Incident Commander for Security of the DRNC event will be in charge of all the actions of the police. Proper measures will get undertaken to ensure that there is proper identification of police officers in riot gear so as to enhance accountability of all actions. All officers must have visible identification numbers placed on their riots gears so as to ensure they can easily get identified. Communication is not only critical among the law enforcement officers but also between the protestors and the police. Effective and proactive communication between protestors and the police before major demonstrations ensures that there is no surprises approach to policing protest and should be continuous during the protests to ensure a peaceful evolution of events and a limited use of coercion (Joyce, 2013). Therefore, in the DRNC event, there will be the use of adequate sound systems and proper communication channels to communicate continuously with protestors. Since the number of protestors expected to come to the Miami-Dade during the DRNC gets approximated to be 20, 000, the long-range acoustic device (LRAD) will be available for crowd control and also give warning tones.
Another critical issue to get observed when dealing with protestors during the DRNC event is respect for human rights and freedoms. The law enforcement agencies must first and foremost guarantee the right to demonstrate peacefully to all protestors (Porta & Diani, 2009). All violent protestors must get separated from the rest of the group and stopped without endangering the security of the peaceful demonstrators. There will be no suppression of speech and assembly for the demonstrations as long as the protestors do not violate laws. The law enforcement agencies shall not get involved in the intimidation of peaceful protestors. The state will refrain from interfering with the right of persons to organize and freely engage in demonstrations at all levels (administrative, criminal and while policing protests).
So as to ensure professionalism in the handling of the DRNC event and also in preparation for violent protestors, all the law enforcement agencies involved will undertake an extensive training. The training will cover different issues relating to legal matters as well as the rights and freedoms of protestors. The police will also receive training on the proper manner of handling civil disturbance and smaller incidents. Police must also receive training on addressing problem individuals in crowds and how to isolate them so as to ensure that there are adequate crowd control and detention of provocateurs. The training will also cover police response to media coverage and identification and response to civilian inquiries for directions, street closings, and other assistance.
The preparation for action on the DRNC event must also address potential terrorist acts and weapons of mass destruction. An emergency management plan involving mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery must get formulated. Proper measures and the agencies involved must be properly outlined. It is important to ensure the safety of peaceful protestors as well as prevent the loss of lives and destruction of property by terrorist activity.
It is important that the DRNC action involves adequate early intervention works so as to minimize the adverse consequences of the protests as well as be adequately prepared. Some of the measures that will get undertaken in the early stages of the protests include negotiations with the organizers of the event, surveillance of the convergence centers, use of helicopter’s spotlight, identification of provocateurs and violent protestors, and deployment of heavy uniformed officers. It is also crucial to involve volunteer lawyers and the private sector or civil-liberty-focused organizations in the negotiations and communications so as to minimize police and protestors confrontation (Reynardus, 2004).
During the demonstrations, the police will deploy police lines (“phalanxes”) to deter demonstrators. The protestors who attempt to close the lines and do not comply with police warnings will get arrested and detained. When the protestors get required to disperse, proper communication that can be heard over long distances will be used, and an adequate time-frame (four-minute) for dispersal will be given. After the four-minute dispersal order elapses, the police shall arrest the demonstrators who do not adhere to the order. Police shall not arrest protestors complying with the order and approximately three or more blocks from the site. Police shall not conduct illegal searches and seizures of protestors. Police shall also not use excessive force to disperse or intimidate peaceful protestors. An appropriate manner of handling the situation is the use of force in an elevating continuum in dealing with the protestors. The use of lethal force shall, however, get exempted in dealing with hostile groups that include persons armed with weapons of mass destruction, spears, knives or heavy objects such as rocks.
Proper measures will get undertaken to ensure that there is no inhumane treatment of detainees. The improper treatment may include denial of restroom facilities, abuse of the elderly or infirm, denial of water, use of physical restraints of prolonged periods and physical and sexual assaults while in jail. All officers handling detainees shall be accountable for all the actions taken on the prisoners. Due to the expected high number of mass arrests, various measures shall get undertaken to minimize overcrowding in jails. A temporary field detention site will get set up to accommodate the protestors arrested before they are taken to court. The law enforcement agencies will coordinate with all criminal justice agencies that include courts, prisons, and prosecutors so as to ensure that there is proper handling of detainees. All the officers in the criminal justice system will ensure that the rights of prisoners do not get violated so as to minimize civil lawsuits against the police. Adequate officers will get deployed so has to make sure that prisoners do not get handled hastily.
Adequate measures shall also get implemented to ensure that mass casualties get handled properly so as to ensure the largest number of survivors in a mass casualty situation. Several medical facilities that include Jackson Memorial Hospital (JMH) and other nearby hospitals and trauma centers will get equipped and prepared to receive high number casualties. The facilities will handle varying cases that include emergency cases. The Regional Emergency Medical Councils shall provide adequate healthcare personnel to handle the mass casualty incidents. Adequate ground ambulances and air medical operations and resources shall get availed to provide ambulance service for casualties. The security plan will also cover the treatment faculties and their staff.
So as to ensure the proper implementation of the mass arrest/mass casualty action, all the recommendations suggested must get implemented. The issues identified include the command structure of the DRNC event, law enforcement officers training, communication between protestors and police, use of lethal force, accountability and identification of individual officers, treatment of detainees, medical care, and facilities, etc.
Joyce, P. (2013): Criminal Justice: An introduction. Routledge.
Porta, D. & Diani, M. (2009): Social Movements: An Introduction: (2nd Edition): John Wiley & Sons
Reynardus, J. E. (2004). The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) inquiry report: Civilian oversight of Miami-Dade Police and Corrections & Rehabilitation Departments. Independent Review Panel (IRP), Miami, FL.