Seminar Title

Supervising and Managing Protests, Demonstrations and Civil Unrest Operations

Dates of Events

09/17/2024 through 09/18/2024

Last Updated: 07/03/2024
Instructor(s): Bill Backus
Location: Sandy City Police Department - 10000 South Centennial Parkway, Sandy, UT 84070
Course Registration Fee: $295
Instructor Bio
Bill Backus
Bill Backus retired in July 2022 as a Master Sergeant with the Illinois State Police after 27 years of service to the agency. Over the course of his career, Bill specialized in mobile field force operations and undercover narcotics investigations. For 11 years, Bill served as the director of a multi-agency undercover drug task force operating in the Chicagoland area. The task force operated in three counties and had officers assigned from 24 different police departments. Since 2013, Bill also served as the statewide mobile field force commander for the Illinois State Police. Bill supervised 250 Troopers assigned to 4 regional crowd control teams during protest activity throughout the State. Bill was responsible for writing ISP policies concerning mobile field force operations and tactics. Bill was the lead instructor for both the ISP’s basic narcotics training and the mobile field force program.
Course Objectives
Course Overview:
This course provides Law Enforcement with the knowledge and best practices when facing the threat of a demonstration in your community. During a demonstration whether large or small, the role of a law enforcement officer is to ensure the public’s safety, protect lives and property, and also protect the First Amendment rights of all persons involved in the event.
Public demonstrations have increased in frequency as a result of high profile incidents involving the police. Although most have been peaceful, the chance of a threat to officer safety is imminent and law enforcement agencies have an obligation to prepare for a proper response for crowd management, regardless of the type of demonstration.

A brief historical overview of protest activity, crowd dynamics and mob behavior.
This module will discuss: contributing factors to civil disorder, behavior patterns and dynamics of people in crowds, past events which had impacts in how law enforcement operated during protest activity, lessons learned from past civil disorder events, the different protest groups, how law enforcement can prepare for an event, and other safety considerations.
The theory of protest groups, specific roles within the group, and physical tactics used.
This module will discuss: the theory, purpose, and characteristics of a protest group, the individual roles protesters have within their group, the physical tactics used by protesters during an event, and violent tactics used against law enforcement.
Protest events from 2000 to present day.
This module will go into depth on the more recent protest events that have occurred in the United States within the last 15-20 years. Discussion will center on how law enforcement managed those events (both positive and negative results) and what law enforcement personnel can do differently to improve.
Operational Planning for Protests and Civil Disorders
This module will discuss how a police agency should prepare for a protest in their jurisdiction. Several topics will be discussed, including: the initial assessment after learning of an upcoming protest, the planning phase, the operational plan and briefing, and spontaneous protest events.
Mobile Field Force Team Equipment
This module will discuss the specific equipment needs that should be addressed when staffing a Mobile Field Force Team prior to activating law enforcement personnel to a protest.
Additional Personnel Assets to Consider for a Protest
This module will discuss the positives/negatives of additional law enforcement personnel and equipment working with or being assigned to a local Mobile Field Force Team, to include: SWAT Teams, Other Police Agencies, K-9 Teams, Less Lethal Munitions, and Chemical Agents.
Managing Mobile Field Force Team Personnel During an Event
This module will discuss the considerations that need to be addressed by a police agency in relation to the health and well-being of officers assigned to a Mobile Field Force Team during a protest event.
Mobile Field Force Tactics and Formations
This module will discuss the multiple formations and tactics used by a Mobile Field Force Team during a protest and the expected results from each tactic.

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