Protest security, a police reform policy

This is kind of a half-baked idea.

What if your state had a policy to organize and train managers of protest security as state officials, such to ensure non-violence and maintain civil rights; basically a state service, supplemental to police in protest contexts. And then, if typical police forces were needed to be called in near such a managed protest, the policy would structure how police would then fall under the command of orders from the event’s lead protest security officer.

I suppose my point here would be, to turn on its head the way police are used as a tool against protest, to instead clarify in policy how police are to serve the public interest to secure our rights, especially the right to protest (for which police are too often counterproductive). The organizing and training of such protest officers wouldn’t be much of an expense either.

Help me out; what do we think thus far?

1 Like

That, or the police could treat every protest like they do a Klan rally or Neo-Nazi convention and do absolutely nothing. Well, except for threatening angry observers opposed to White Supremacy and bigotry. (I’m not trying to be rude to you; I am just commenting/venting on the current police action against the students and others protesting our country’s involvement and complicity with Israel’s genocide.) I completely agree with you that something has to change in the way police respond to protests. To train and manage a select group of officers that can be called upon during protests and demonstrations would be cost-effective, proactive, and seriously makes sense. I also believe that people trained in the social and health sciences must play a significant role in police training and policies. It just seems like there’s a culture of racism and fear that leads to unnecessary force and arrests and too many deaths. Perhaps by having professionals trained in these areas actively involved in restructuring our law enforcement systems, everyone’s rights and personal safety would be better protected.


Thank you for your input :turtle: Venting is welcome. I myself am exceptionally frustrated with law enforcement; (frankly, this reply has been hard for me to compose, especially as I attempt tact). I want to first validate your emotions.

Also, I should say I would expect many police similarly want things to change for the better, and many police are not right-wing extremists. That basic clarification aside, some police are indeed violent political extremists. And as an institution policing has failed in too many ways, and continues to be misapplied.

I appreciate your support, and you summarized this idea well:

Some departments are bringing in social service workers for certain tasks. Police departments have been stretched too thin, used against varied symptoms of failing public policy, which too often and increasingly backfires. One such task which police are especially ill equipped for is law enforcement and security around protests.

Ideally, protesters would experience policing without fear of abuse from police, and instead could even actually trust that police would truly protect and serve. However, some clarifications are needed, and some laws/norms need to be changed. For instance, I would expect a protest which occupies a space, such as a campus, to never be forcibly ended; rather, in such a case the police may even be called to restrict campus security from attempting to forcibly remove protesters. When protesters do eventually leave voluntarily they might then still be validly charged for trespassing, or breaking and entering, or whatever. And the campus may similarly face charges if their security applied force.

As another point of clarification, I would expect no on duty officer to be unidentified at a protest; no masks, wear badges and names on uniform, all with vest-cameras always on with public live feeds. And, importantly, discipline for police violations must be respected; I expect an officer with an accidentally turned off vest-camera live-feed to be investigated, at the least. I also expect the officer in command to have authority to suspend at will any police officer responding to a protest, and to even fire police officers for severe or repeated violations.

This type of dynamic, where police are not permitted to be made into the weapons of civil abuse, and where police begin to earn public trust, is safer for everyone, especially police. But, for this, it seems to me we need to explicitly regain civil control over police use, and greatly improve the laws and norms around protests; (otherwise, corporations and foreign agencies will continue to buy off our police services policies to serve their own interests, and then we can only expect both continued police foolishness and escalated violence at protests).

1 Like

I understand both stances here but neither really remedy the problem.

Training doesn’t counter culture it only adds the aspect of policing. Adding a layer that acts as a bulwark can work for a time but often is corruptive and ultimately becomes a tool of the oppressors.

Venezuela was recently talked about but I was disappointed that few details about the recovery were really discussed.

They have an aspect to the community that you can see in recent visits by travel vloggers.

Notice there is very few police. Almost no presence. You will see in both of the following videos the aspect of community policing that seems the most healthy. In fact sometimes the police corruption is so bad no police are permitted into the community. Usually criminals are still surrendered to the state police. This doesn’t mean laws aren’t enforced it just means the community surrenders the person(s) to the state if need be.


Yes, very true.

Though, these protest security officers would, ideally, be experienced activists or organizers themselves; how else would they be qualified to understand how to secure a protest?;(to answer my own rhetorical question, I had also considered former officers, veterans, wildland firefighters, etc). They are not hired from current police culture, then are trained to command police to secure a protest, (and with authority to discipline police as necessary). I agree none of this directly remedies the toxic culture of policing; but that is also not the point. Rather, the policy makes current corrupted institutions and toxic culture irrelevant, by relegating policing authority under a new structure, where the objective, decision, and command processes are explicitly no longer entrusted to those within police culture.

That clarified, I also agree with your broader point about how this new layer of additional policing structure is itself corruptible, especially over time. Though, frankly, that seems to me not a valid reason to not reassert civil control, to secure civil liberty, even if temporarily. Especially since the current trajectory is that policing is otherwise increasingly militaristic and fascistic. This policy idea is intended more as an intermediary, even marginal measure, relative to an ultimate resolution of policing culture.

1 Like

I agree with your point about corruption, and I think there can be no change without the creation of and training in new policies and procedures. It is just vital that a whole new group of people, those educated in the health and social sciences, have to be heavily involved in the restructuring, implementation, and continuation of the training, policy-making, and day-to-day processes. I went through the videos and was deeply impressed with the Venezuelan people and culture. Since I didn’t watch them both straight through, I unfortunately missed the information about community policing, which I want to learn about. Are there specific parts of the video you can point out, or would you mind explaining the idea further? Thanks!

1 Like