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Handling Civil Disobedience

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When faced with 200 people throwing bottles and rocks, officers have to remember their riot training from their rookie days in the academy. Now, Tulsa Police are creating a new training video to teach the correct way to respond to a riot, like the one that happened at a north Tulsa apartment complex two weeks ago. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright was the only reporter invited to the video shoot. She reports that although Tulsa officers handled that riot just fine, the top brass thought it would be a good idea to give all officers a refresher course.

The training video will go through the basics, like the correct way to hold the baton at port arms, jab ready and roundhouse. Officers don't have to use these skills very often so department leadership thought added training would be helpful.

"We're going to make a short video and show it at squad meetings as a refresher to officers," Crocker said.

The video even demonstrates the correct way for officers to put on their gas masks, just in case a situation requires them to shoot cannons of pepper spray or tear gas into a crowd.

The idea behind handling civil disobedience is to push the crowd back and to break it up, before anyone on either side gets hurt. But the training is all designed to be hands-off.

"That's what we want. We don't want to have to lay hands on anybody," said Crocker.

Creating a training video is the most efficient way to educate the department's 700 officers. This way, they can see the proper way to form a column of officers, before spreading out into a skirmish line with helmets on for protection and riot batons ready.

"It has a psychological effect on the crowd, yes and we want to arrive in an orderly fashion so we know what we're doing, the crowd knows what we're doing and it's a show of force and don't have to escalate force more than that,” said Tulsa Police Captain Tracie Crocker. “Just showing up, moving the crowd with no hands on, no force, that's what we want to do."

The department hopes to have the video showing in squad meetings by next week. Police have also changed how they house their riot gear. The helmets and batons will no longer be kept in closets at the police stations; instead, they'll be stored in vehicles that can be driven to scenes in a hurry.

Watch the video: Tulsa Police Riot Training

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4/16/2007 Police Review Riot Gear Policy
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