thumbnail of NER Washington forum; Police riot control training, part 2
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
I don't know. The sound you hear in the background is that of police rifles and shotguns. Men firing weapons are members of a suburban Washington DC police department. They're undergoing riot control training on the outskirts of our nation's capital. And a continuation of national educational radio's look at various repercussions of recent civil disorders in the United States. This week the NBER Washington forum. Spotlights police riot control training. This program was produced for national educational radio through the facilities of WMU American University Radio in Washington D.C.. National Educational radio thanks the officers and men of the Fairfax County Virginia Police Department who allowed this reporter to participate
in the riot training program. I'm an E.R. public affairs director Bill Greenwald broadcasting from the Northern Virginia police academy in a suburban area the nation's capital. Last week this program dealt with the general policies of police riot training following the massive outbreaks of violence throughout the nation. This week we take you on an actual riot training session with members of this police department. I'm standing in the middle of the training field at the moment in the middle of a huge cloud of smoke and tear gas. This is just one aspect of the training program and as far as this reporter and I understand many members of the police department are concerned it's probably one of the least pleasant experiences of this day the day last eight hours and during the next 30 minutes you will get a glimpse of what these officers are undergoing as they train to protect property and lives. Should violence ever occur in the nation's capital.
Lieutenant Dan Chris the men here are all training on the M1 rifle. Is this going to be a standard. Weapon for white riot training in this area. Yes it will be intelligence reports indicate that the cities are suffering. Riots in the recent weeks that have gone by some of the rioters equip themselves with high powered rifles whether they got them. It is not clear at this time. Some have been a result of burglaries where hardware stores and sports shops have been burglarized and high powered rifles stolen and then used against the police. This high powered rifle here. Is our answer to what the rioters are using. Pick up a step there. Right. Now.
The red heart. May sound like an army boot camp but it's still here at the Northern Virginia police training academy. Police are lining the one of the basics and that is marching. This is the second phase of training following a shooting of the M1 rifle. The offices are lined up in two rows there marching up and down a huge field here in Virginia while another squad of trainees now practices with tear gas we will be getting that a little later. Police say the psychology of this marching is very simple that organized law enforcement officers look more impressive than can command much more respect from lawless elements in the face of civil disorders. If police are called into a riot area they want to go in looking like they mean business. And for this reason these police will march up and down this field until they look snap. Rap.
Rap. One of the major time consuming parts of this riot training course consists of classroom work during which police officers hear like cheers on the legalities and other technical aspects of coping with mob violence. Our instructor Lieutenant Dan Chris is the lecturer. Now after these things happen just like all the other riots in Milwaukee and Buffalo What have you. There are always some on Monday morning quarterbacks. You did it wrong this is why you're here not as you should have prepared you should have planned all this garbage at the Everyone's telling who the hell to blame for what I'm not going to stand here and tell you who's to blame because I don't know. All I know is that after our little more rain down there our chief was called over. And he was asked what is the state of training in this county right now. What is the state of preparedness in his county right now. What kind of equipment do you have. Well needless to say we didn't have what we should have. What we should have. And the training was recent recently last summer.
There was nothing wrong with the training we gave you people last year. The trouble is that as of early this year the tactics of the rioters changed. You know you're going to have a plan to combat rioting but if they don't riot according to your plan like they did in Milwaukee that's what happened. They went by the book and the riot didn't take place according to the book. So. The tactics have changed. It's now street warfare. Guerilla warfare. Last baron I had the pleasure of going up to. Trenton New Jersey with Inspector Dotson on his part to cross and we talked with a man in a field. We did not talk to someone who was a hundred miles away from the action. We talked to the man who did the shooting. We talked to the operations people. And let me tell you they were scared. They were scared. Because there was no way in God's world and on how many damn weapons around at City. All the burglaries of life before that end up in Plainfield all the other places where the weapons were stolen. There was no way of knowing how much a weapon how much weaponry they had what kind of weaponry they had and how much ammunition and what to make it worse this type of warfare with new.
Sniping. Hell none of us have had any except in the service maybe not sniping from 14 storeys up 12 30 is up. From all kinds of windows shooting from all kinds of one goes all at once and at different times. So we have to put together a training program we were under direct orders from the Board of Supervisors that this county shall be prepared for any emergency. We had lots of staff meetings we did a lot of planning in addition to all this planning policy had to be written. The chief had to come out and say you know this is what he's going to back this is the way it's going to operate if it's not here somebody's got to take his place and that man isn't here somebody's going to take his place right on down to the duty captain's someplace somebody someone man is going to be in charge. Then we had the right policy on arrest the use of deadly force which all of you will get a copy of today is the chief going to ask you if you have to shoot and kill a man. In certain conditions yes other conditions no you go off on a folly of your own and just grab you one
colored subject and let him have it you going to find out you're not going to get the support. Do your job the way you're supposed to according to the law and the department back you always your instructors will tell you about more of this later. That's all I can have the jump on us. But then on the 15 point one 131 we find under certain conditions we can go from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. They can come here and we can go there. So we have to start thinking about. Uniform training training which is compatible with Arlington. Training which is compatible with Fairfax City Vienna Falls Church and other jurisdictions which participated. I don't know if you know this if we go into Arlington we're going to work as uniformly with them as possible. If we need the forces of Vienna we need the force of the Fairfax City because these men have gone through the same thing. When I report the scene of a civil disorder they know exactly what they're supposed to do. A squad member will know what a squad leader job is. A squad leader will know what a squad member of your job is. And the people who have the squad leader will now want to feel commander
job so that we can put all the functions together. And we don't trip over each other as we go along. Jurisdictional crossing jurisdictional boundaries brought into question who will command if we go into Arlington do we fly under Chief Gar or do we go on the cheap. This had to be our No. What about on the forces operating within Fairfax County in the event of disorder or comes in here we know from experience that the state police come in the state police retain command of their people. They never turn over command of their people to a local police. This had to be worked up about the FBI we don't want to be stumbling over each other. All these have to be worked out and this is why we have this training. So we can be compatible with the other jurisdiction. So the training is can be uniform. So we know where the hell were going so we know who's running the show so we know what our obligations are. After this day is over we should be able to have an M-1 rifle than any man on his throne. And he should know how to load that thing and fire it.
We should be able to get a gas gun any man in his room and he should know how to fire. Same thing what these other kind of weapon will be given you. We have a new M 17 gas mask. Every man would be familiar with. You'll find it's a big improvement over what we've had in the past. Now. You'll hear phrases such as a show of strength. A show of force. Well we found out one thing up there you know make a show of strength you don't make a show of force unless you're ready to use that force. A life that forces ready to go into action. You just not march a hundred fifty men down the street. Well you know I have a gold dollar bill. Nothing like. We may have we may have built along the way. There are probably 100 things we forgot to do. We've gotten most of it off the ground. What I did learn out of last week's trip up to New Jersey. I was very pleased that when they started telling us about what planning they did and where they made mistakes. They had a riot we did. And over 75 percent of all our planning that we did.
Was exactly what should have been done. Now this happened I just want to back a little bit for this because we've never had a ride. We don't know what Iraq is going to be we don't even know how we're going to be performed under the conditions. But at least better than 75 percent of our planning seems to be going in the right direction. This training is in a right direction. All the equipment we're buying have bought it in the right direction. If I run I never convert so what. And if it does come we're prepared as a Roman said once many many thousands of years ago. If you want peace prepare for war. If we don't prepare and it comes. We're up the creek without their proverbial paddle. What if it doesn't come. So what RDM bolus is one of the instructors here at the police academy and you have a rather unique. Duty when I haven't seen before that a photography where does that play a role in riot training. Well in order to have cooperation of the person the arrested and the officer when they arrive in court you have a mass arrest over a large period of
time. Take a picture so that it is a task to summon a judge and look at the officer and the subject and they are put together at that point. There's no guesswork and he says I think that's the man. This is not the case we know who the man is. Is this something new which is come out of the light of the recent outbreaks of violence around the country. Definitely so Arlington County and Fairfax County have accepted this. Now we are going to use it. So we may see this happening in other areas across the country in the years and months from now. I think they'd be smart to adapt it yes. Are you teaching each man how to operate this camera in the event. You don't have a qualified camera man around it an occasion officers will now be used for this purpose and every man on the department will be trained to use this camera if you record your card. But X phase of our training you're at the Police Academy is that in the use of gas to control and
disperse mobs. We now have all been issued a gas mask. We have assembled at an area of the field by a truck containing a wide array of various types of gas which can be fired at mobs. Two instructors are standing here in front of a large collection of gas guns that is a weapon which shoots the gas projectile into the crowd. It will teach us how to properly use these gas masks and other aspects of this form of riot control measures to get the finest mass this way in the world today. The military is good against all known agents even. Bacteriological chemical warfare agent didn't just tear gas that type of gases we have. It's going to last you somewhere around seven years and to use it daily. So you're. Going to be a good thing for a long time to come. The instruction in the proper use of the gas mask apparel takes some time. Along with that goes instruction in the various types of gas devices
available. The men see the projectiles which are fired from a very large so-called gas rifle a very long heavy bulky looking rifle which can shoot these gas cartridges a great distance. They also see and touch the tear gas grenades a canister which looks something like the war type hand grenade which when the pan is pulled in the hand grenade is thrown releases the gas in a steady stream until it fills the air with a choking white cloud of gas smoke. After learning about these devices the man then walked toward the police firing range here at the police academy. They don their gas masks and take a position in front of human targets these are the FBI type targets which show a silhouette of a man. They will be told to go into a big thick cloud of gas and shoot at these targets. They then will go through
the procedure with out a gas mask on to determine their ability to fire while inhaling the very burning gas into their lungs their eyes watering almost unable to see the target much less shoot. But this could happen and they must know how to do it and that's part of the training here. Now back to Moscow but I'm. Going to come right back and he would weigh with Ron. Oh go away. All right. All right. You're right. Thank you. In this case the man is standing in the middle of a smoke and tear gas barrage
they have no gas mask on. This is designed to test their ability to shoot and act clearly if exposed to gas without the benefit of the protective devices. They are shooting in three teams at three targets. When you're clear early. Lieutenant Chris what is the effect on these men who are going through this tear gas smoke without a mask on. Well the man it's in the center of the smoke and tear gas is experiencing hearing. I don't I don't hear ducks in the eyes as I want to over attention honestly I don't. Know what you're going to. Cover. The police officers have now donned their gas masks and sounds a little
strange at this moment it's because A. Moment ago they went through the gas course without gas masks are charred again now with protective devices to shield them from the thick cloud of small gas which is being propelled into this target. There is we understand a lot of the newest types of gas masks. Our instructor lieutenant is not will be able to answer the questions in a much more understandable voice than I can ask them to tell me this lieutenant is purchased in the army actually from the police department. Asks these are made available to us from the federal government. They are not made especially for police or National Guard troops would be wearing a similar mask. Any event they mobilized to assist us.
To my knowledge it is correct. As you can see as a far more comfortable mask. Had you been wearing one of the other type of the older type you would have experienced some difficulty with the fogging of the lenses as well as the breathing. Another good point here is that you can speak your voice is very intelligible to me. I don't know how you're coming out on your tape but your voice to me is very intelligible and with the use of an electric bullhorn you would had you been a commander to be able to and your troops with a good voice. Members of the police could pass masks on everyone. All right you are. Not God.
When you're. Young or you go seven you are gone. It's bringing back a score. Only 25 yards. The next part of this training is something which is not unusual to police departments at anytime riot or no riot. It involves the arrest stand or searching of suspects. Police Private Paul Kirk Votto is one of the man who has been undergoing this training and will ask him to describe the various techniques used for searching suspects what do you do when you're investigating a person you think might be guilty of a crime.
This is something the police become very lax and after a period of time where they just after awhile they'll get so they just briefly search the subject where they pat his pockets and feel around his waist. This is very dangerous especially in the time of right you have to be very thorough in your search placing the subject up against a car or a wall and not patting down his body but running your hands smoothly over his entire body and checking places like the under his watch band and his collar and places like that. And we understand they're teaching a new method of handcuffing people here which is slightly different from the way you see it on television can you describe the method. Is there something unique about this. Well this isn't something new this is just something that again you get careless in handcuffing the people so the rist are facing each other and the palms are away from each other. This prevents the criminal
from either moving his hands underneath his legs or manipulating the handcuffs or if necessary. If you have to handcuff him in the front his restrict his movements are restricted. And as much as he can't use the handcuffs as a weapon as he would be able to if they were handcuffed palm to palm. But it is preferable then to handcuff all persons behind their back. Oh definitely unless for some reason like shoulder injury or something like that. Up on the pistol range members of this police training group go back to the instruction all where they will discuss police policies in dealing with civil disorder. Much of these policy matters are such that police would rather we not bring them we don't want to give away tactics which might be employed against rioters in the event of civil disorder. But there are still many policies which the public should and perhaps might be best off knowing.
I'm sure that you would agree Lieutenant Dan Chris there are there are many things that if the people knew what our objectives are the job of the police and the supporting agencies would be much easier. What exactly are the objectives in dealing with mob violence. The first objective of any police department and civil disorder or mob violence is one to suppress civil disorder. Once the civil disorder has been suppressed it is not our job to control it. Yes instance we would expect that law abiding people people who are not part of the demonstration or of the rioting masses would stay in their homes and not come out as spectators. The fewer innocent people in the demonstration mobs the better it is for the police and the better chance that innocent people will not be injured or wounded in any civil disorder. Now there are several practical matters which you of necessity teach these men during this training programme I wonder if you might go over them such as chain of command during
disorder or the arrest of people the use of deadly force. So I think that our departmental policies would not be of any value in your particular program. However it must be remembered that we operate as a semi-military organisation. And operating as such we have to recognize the fact that we can have only one common leader and in the absence of that common leader that authority to command must be delegated to someone else. So our so-called chain of command has been organized. We know who will be in charge. Any event any civil disorder takes place or any disaster for that matter. We also know who will be in charge in the absence of the supreme commander our chief of police. Any of any type of civil disorder arises. We should be able to mobilize our available forces within the hour. And these are the things which are being taught the man during this policy session. That is correct that we were showing these men were instructing these men how the chain of command
in a write down is going to a car and we are also reminding them that it is our objective is to mobilize as swiftly as possible with full equipment so that we may be deployed as needed. Lieutenant Chris I don't want you to give away any secrets so to speak but there is always during an outbreak of violence there are charges that police charges a police brutality. And what is being taught these men with respect to the use of force. Sir let me explain one thing about police brutality this seems to be a cry of the day. Brutality such as the people the demagogues are now professing does not really car. If a police officer is brutal in his tactics we have the law to protect the people who have been offended by their actions. What we are teaching our people is strict discipline that they are to use what force is necessary to overcome the resistance which is being provided by the rioters.
For example if a riot or a shooting out a police officer he is not expected to stand there and be shot down he is going to shoot back. And this would be a necessary thing for him to do. Also in the event of protecting the citizens if it becomes necessary for a police officer to resort to the use of deadly force to wit his revolver or an automatic rifle or shotgun he has the discretion and the authority to use that force. Well I noticed in sitting through some of your lectures lieutenant that you seemed to go out of your way to stress the need for discipline as you pointed out there were films shown of various riots which have occurred in the United States and I recall you specifically pointing to instances where there was a lack of police discipline evident with respect to the use of force. So there we are evaluating every just about every city which experienced so-called riots or civil disorder. Our purpose is not certainly not to be Monday morning quarterbacks and criticize the departments affected. It's a new
strategy for a lot of police departments a year or two ago the Los Angeles riots were certainly new to the L.A. police. And Buffalo and Rochester and a few other cities experiencing the riots for the first time. One of our objectives in planning we would like to plan hopefully that a riot never occurred within our jurisdiction or within the boundaries of the jurisdictions involved in his cooperative effort here in evaluating some of the departments which suffered heavy losses and a breaking of the police spirit a breaking of police forces down the middle. We found a definite lack of discipline. And it's this discipline that we want to tighten up here. We certainly want to have our forces be used en masse in a force and a military deployment. We will certainly not be affective if each police officer runs out and takes off after one. One rider we we plan to train our people so that the squad leader will be the man who makes the
move. You also mentioned the need for answer departmental coordination here in the Washington metropolitan area. Of course there are many police departments and I notice a great deal of these police departments represented here at the academy. Yes you will find many police departments represented here at the academy because are one of the other objectives in our training program is uniformity of training. In the event our forces have to cross jurisdictional boundaries which we are permitted to do by Virginia statute then we want to be compatible with that jurisdictions method of operation and vice versa. If we find it necessary to call upon our neighbors to provide us with police forces we want them to be compatible with our way of operation. This uniformity of training should achieve that objective. Thank you very much Lieutenant Chris. As we said at the first of this program no law enforcement officer helps a riot will occur within his area of jurisdiction but police are aware that training is a necessity even if it
will never be used. Here in suburban Washington D.C. police have received training in the very latest methods of handling mob violence. National Educational radio thanks the officers and men of the Fairfax County Virginia Police Department for allowing us to participate in that training. I describe it to you our listeners. This program was produced through the facilities of W am you FM American University Radio in Washington DC. I'm Bill Greenwood inviting you to listen again next week as we investigate still another aspect of the nation's rioting problem on the NE our Washington forum a weekly program concerned with the significant issues before us as a nation. This is the national educational radio network.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
NER Washington forum
Police riot control training, part 2
Producing Organization
WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-sx648w4j).
Episode Description
This program, the second of two parts, focuses on police riot control training at Fairfax County, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.
Series Description
Discussion series featuring a prominent figure affecting federal government policy.
Public Affairs
Media type
Host: Greenwood, Bill
Producing Organization: WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-24-25 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:10
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “NER Washington forum; Police riot control training, part 2,” 1967-09-07, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 28, 2024,
MLA: “NER Washington forum; Police riot control training, part 2.” 1967-09-07. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 28, 2024. <>.
APA: NER Washington forum; Police riot control training, part 2. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from