Over the last few days, the Police Executive Research Forum has been the subject of several false articles and blog postings alleging that we have been coordinating police crackdowns on Occupy protests. This is not true. PERF conducted two conference calls for the sole purpose of allowing police chiefs to compare notes about their experiences with “Occupy” protests. The last conference call was held on November 4—more than two weeks ago.
PERF urges everyone who wishes to obtain an accurate view of PERF’s work to read a report that we released in July 2011 called “Managing Major Events: Best Practices from the Field.” This report, which is available on our website at http://www.policeforum.org/dotAsset/1491727.pdf, summarizes the views of police leaders who participated in a PERF conference in November 2010 to discuss issues related to major events such as large-scale protests. See especially the following:
--Chapter 2, titled “A ‘Softer’ Approach to Crowd Management: The Vancouver Model,” offers this advice: “Be proactive by reaching out to the public or influential community groups beforehand to inform them of your planned activities during an event…. Use the ‘meet and greet’ strategy. Engage the crowd in a friendly, non-confrontational manner….Most protesters are peaceful; don’t allow a small group of instigators to provoke an aggressive response from officers.”
--Chapter 7, titled “Preparing for Protesters at Major Events,” includes this recommendation: “When dealing with law-breaking protesters, don’t forget that thousands of nonviolent protesters are merely exercising their First Amendment rights. So the police must differentiate the lawbreaking protesters from those who are peaceful.”
We also invite everyone to review our many other reports on our website (http://policeforum.org), which can be found in the “Free Doc Library” and “Critical Issues Series” sections. We believe that these documents will provide an accurate view of PERF’s history of promoting community policing and police strategies that ensure that everyone’s Constitutional rights, including First Amendment free speech rights, are protected.
Police Executive Research Forum
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Phone: 202-466-7820 Fax: 202-466-7826