Preparing for Presidential Campaigns and Protests on Campus

The U.S. presidential campaign is heating up, and some events have turned violent. These 13 tips will help you address the security challenges associated with planned political actions.

8. Identify where detainees will be held and how they will be transported, and by whom. UPS loves logistics. You should too. It probably would be a good idea to provide specific assignments to officers, such as who will cuff, who transports, etc.

9. Consult with your institution’s PIO. Who will speak for the PD, and will the police spokesperson be empowered to speak for the college? If not, the PIO will have to be briefed on your operations, and you both should be in constant contact. Who will deal with the press? A PIO can be a godsend, running interference for you with the press so you can concentrate on law enforcement matters at hand. Also, make sure your officers understand accepted procedures for dealing with the press, to include responding to questions (or referring questions to a designated authority), granting access to “hot spots,” press parking, etc.

10. Prepare for traffic control issues. Can parking services assist with traffic direction? In Virginia, for instance, parking officers are not allowed to direct traffic on public thoroughfares. If you lack the assets to cover a civil disturbance and traffic control, you will need to rely on signage and/or local jurisdictions for support.

11. Notifications may need to be made to the campus community as well as surrounding communities. When, by whom, and by what means will notifications be made? Will notifications potentially exacerbate attendance at the protest? Will neighboring communities be affected by traffic control, parking and associated issues? Here, the institution’s PIO can be invaluable.

12. Review parking signage and ticketing policies. You may want to forgo ticketing visiting protestors to avoid allegations that you are inhibiting their free speech and intimidating them. A dedicated, free parking area, designated by signage, will help set a tone of police impartiality.

13. Provide officers with flex-cuffs so they don’t lose their issued cuffs if detainees are taken to jail. My experience has been that when my cuffs go to jail without me, I seldom see them again!

Prudent planners will get out in front of the event by planning for all possible contingencies. Good luck.

About the Author

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Dr. John Weinstein is an actively serving senior police officer and command staff member at one of the largest post-secondary academic institutions in the United States. He is a certified firearms, Verbal Judo, and CIT instructor and contributes frequently to Campus Safety and other publications.

The views expressed in his articles should not be construed as representing the official views of his present institution.

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