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Back to Archives | Back to September 2012 Contents 

Training for the NATO Summit: The Chicago Model

By Howard Lodding, Deputy Chief, Chicago, Illinois, Police Department; and Mark Sedevic, EdD, Sergeant, Chicago, Illinois, Police Department


n June 2011, the city of Chicago was notified that it would have the honor of hosting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit in May 2012. The city would be the first in the United States outside of Washington, D.C., to host a NATO Summit. Since some previous NATO Summit host cities endured violent protests and property damage, such as in the French city of Strasbourg in 2009, the Chicago Police Department’s Education and Training Division needed to put together a comprehensive and effective training program to prepare its officers.1

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy tasked the Chicago Police Education and Training Division with developing a training program that would provide training for all members of the agency. The task involved creating curriculum and training for 12,000 members of the department, to be completed within eight months. This was accomplished by dividing the members of the Chicago Police Department into different tiers.

  • Tier-one personnel were those who were involved in primary crowd control duties. These personnel were the Chicago Police Department’s Mobile Field Force and officers who would have direct interaction with tier-one personnel (that is, bike and foot personnel).
  • Tier-two “A” personnel were police officers who walked the parade routes and were used as forward observers.
  • Tier-two “B” personnel were officers who worked in their districts or units of assignment but were available on standby for crowd control duties.
  • Tier-three personnel were officers whose direct participation in crowd control duties during the NATO summit was unlikely.

A review of the current Chicago Police Department crowd control program was conducted, and it was decided that other crowd control models used throughout the country needed to be studied. The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), located in Alabama, had an ongoing training program relationship with the Chicago Police Department and was contacted so Chicago personnel could determine what crowd control programs were being used throughout the country.

The CDP representatives presented the Chicago Police Department with the crowd control program, called Field Force Operations (FFO), which they had deployed in different areas of the country. The CDP FFO program was examined and approved by the Chicago Police Department command staff. The Chicago Police Department Education and Training Division then sent 60 trainers, along with Chicago Police Department legal counsel, to Anniston, Alabama, in order to train as facilitators under the direction of the CDP. The course was designed by CDP, was nationally recognized, and would allow the Chicago Police Department to work seamlessly with other law enforcement agencies because of the program’s interoperability.


Tier-One Training

The CDP FFO course was a 24-hour course taught by Chicago police instructors and overseen by CDP instructors, who provided certification from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to all police officers who completed the course. The FFO course covered

  • the history of civil disorder,
  • legal perspectives,
  • team tactics,
  • demonstrator tactics,
  • crowd dynamics,
  • personal protective equipment,
  • riot control agents, and
  • less-lethal munitions.

Furthermore, the decision was made to supplement the 24-hour CDP training course with an additional 24 hours of crowd control training for tier-one members. This supplemental crowd control training dealt with other elements that tier-one members could encounter during their course of deployment, including understanding and working with

  • shield training,
  • the Chicago Police Department’s use-offorce policy,
  • mesh fencing,
  • baton blocks,
  • the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD),
  • the Chicago Police Department’s First Amendment policy,
  • suspicious package or bomb incident response,
  • the Chicago Police Department’s mass arrest policy,
  • flex-cuffing,
  • the team tactic hand signals and formations,and
  • scenario-based training concerning crowd control formations.

In addition to the 48 hours of tier-one training already received, select tier-one members received field force extrication (FFE) and line officer medical and rescue training (LOMART).

Field Force Extrication. Four FFE sustainment sessions were given to the Chicago Police Department members during skills training. This was done to maintain proficiency in the FFE skill over a period of time. The curriculum and training for the FFE sustainment courses were developed and conducted by the members of the Chicago Police Department Education and Training Division.

The FFE courses dealt with extricating protestors from various protestor devices. The initial course was designed and given by the CDP. The FFE tactics course was a 24-hour training course that provided officers with the ability to identify the purpose of protester devices; identified the various types of locking protester devices used in civil actions; discussed legal issues as they related to the use of and the extrication of individuals from protester devices; outlined the responsibilities of extrication team members; compared the roles and the responsibilities of the extrication team with other law enforcement assets; demonstrated the safe operation of tools used to extricate an individual from protester devices; and established methods of extricating an individual from protester devices.

Line Officer Medical and Rescue Training. The eight-hour LOMART course prepared police officers in rendering self- and buddy first aid during the NATO Summit. This would have been needed in the event of a critical incident where the Chicago Fire Department’s emergency medical services were precluded from aiding injured police officers within an unsafe zone. The curriculum and training for the LOMART course was developed and conducted by the members of the Chicago Police Department Education and Training Division.


Tier-Two “A” and “B” Training

The tier-two course for both groups “A” and “B” was created by condensing the three-day FFO course into eight hours of training and by infusing some Chicago Police Department–specific policies. An additional eight-hour course was developed for the tier-two “A” personnel in order to provide supplemental crowd control training because their participation in the NATO Summit was certain. The tier-two “A” supplemental training consisted of

  • legal principles involving civil actions and disorders,
  • the use-of-force model,
  • riot control agents and less-lethal munitions,
  • the Chicago Police Department’s policy on mass arrest procedures,
  • flex-cuffing,
  • suspicious package or bomb incident response,
  • how to work with mesh fencing,
  • how to parallel a parade line of march, and
  • decorum at a protest.


Tier-Three Training

The tier-three personnel were trained through distance learning modules (that is, training bulletins, streaming videos, and electronic learning modules) given that these personnel would most likely not participate in the NATO Summit duties. Additionally, all tier-one and tier-two members had access to these materials for training.

Following are the distance-learning modules that were offered to the Chicago Police Department personnel.

NATO–Related Training Bulletins:

  • Crowd control formations
  • Flexible restraints
  • Oleoresin capsicum (OC) devices
  • Graffiti vandalism
  • Mass arrests
  • Suicide bombings

NATO-Related E-Learning Modules:

  • Crowd control formations
  • NATO PowerPoint summary

NATO-Related Streaming Videos:

  • Crowd control formations
  • Crossbow formations
  • Officer carry protocol
  • Mass arrests

Further, a NATO-related pocket guide was developed. It consists of formations, preparatory commands, commands of execution, hand signals, and diagrams of formations.

The team concept was ingrained into all of the tiered training courses because working as a team builds confidence and reinforces proper reaction. It was continuously reinforced that the key to successful team tactic operations was in the creation of a well-disciplined, professional, trained, and controlled working team.

As well as the tiered training, the Chicago Police Department Education and Training Division developed separate training for command staff, executed joint police and fire training exercises, and held numerous courses for outside agencies to prepare for the NATO Summit.


Mobile Field Force Capabilities

The command staff overview presented the capabilities of the mounted unit, the lesslethal and riot control agent teams, the FFE teams, LOMART trained officers, and the bike unit with regard to crowd situations. Additionally, crowd control formation demonstrations were given by the mobile field force, the mass arrest technology was examined, and the capabilities of the LRAD were put on display.


Chicago Police and Fire Department Joint Training

There were two Chicago Police and Fire Department joint training sessions. All police and fire tier-one personnel were targeted for this training.

Joint Training Session One: The first four hours of session one consisted of the responders rotating through six stations. The final three hours consisted of scenario-based training where the responders applied what they learned in the station training.

  • Station 1: The first responders reviewed preparatory commands, commands of execution, hand signals for crowd control formations, and physical contact within a squad or platoon formation.
  • Station 2: The first responders reviewed the purpose of each individual crowd control formation.
  • Station 3: The first responders conducted practical application of the crossbow rescue technique that involved a simulated injured individual being rescued.
  • Station 4: The first responders conducted practical application of the crossbow arrest technique that involved a simulated injured individual being arrested.
  • Station 5: The purpose of this station was to have first responders practice the use of an air-purifying respirator.
  • Station 6: The purpose of this station was for first responder awareness of the decontamination process.

Joint Training Session Two: The first four hours of session two consisted of the responders rotating through four stations. The final three hours consisted of scenario-based training where the responders applied what they learned in the station training.

  • Station 1: The first responders reviewed preparatory commands, commands of execution, hand signals for crowd control formations, and physical contact within a squad or platoon formation. Additionally, the first responders reviewed the purpose of each individual crowd control formation and learned how to safely and effectively deploy the mesh barricades.
  • Station 2: The first responders reviewed escort control holds, the application of flexible restraints, and the different types of carrying techniques.
  • Station 3: The first responders conducted practical application of the crossbow rescue technique that involved a simulated injured individual being rescued.
  • Station 4: The first responders conducted practical application of the crossbow arrest technique that involved a simulated injured individual being arrested.


Outside Agency Training

In addition to training Chicago Police Department members, the agency’s Education and Training Division developed a curriculum for and trained outside agencies on what the NATO Summit entailed, the different types of protest groups, and the tactics that some protest groups used during civil actions in the past. The courses given to outside agencies follow:

  • NATO Awareness for the Chicago Fire Department
  • NATO Awareness for the Traffic Management Authority
  • NATO Awareness for City of Chicago Inspectors
  • NATO Awareness for the Independent Police Review Authority
  • First Amendment, Use of Force, and Mass Arrests for the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System members


Command Staff Tabletop Exercises

The Office of International Relations, which conducted the planning for the NATO Summit, prepared and facilitated five command staff tabletop exercises.

The purpose of the command staff tabletop exercises was to

  • prepare to respond to crowd control situations;
  • test plans, critical response, and recovery functions;
  • challenge systems and procedures; and
  • identify gaps and shortfalls.

The objectives of the command staff tabletop exercises were to assess and validate the staff’s capabilities and roles in the following areas:

  • Communications
  • Critical resource logistics and distribution
  • Mass care (that is, sheltering, feeding, and related services)
  • Medical needs
  • Crowd control


Key Points for Training Concerning Crowd Situations

  • Train officers with a tiered approach.
  • Continuously reinforce crowd control formations through drills and scenario-based training.
  • Train on a wide variety of topics concerning crowd situations.
  • Ensure that specialized training is included, such as field force extrication and line officer medical and rescue training.
  • Effectively utilize distance learning modules.
  • Make certain that command staff members understand the capabilities of the mobile field force.
  • Police and fire departments need to train together to prepare for crowd situations.
  • Train outside agencies at an awareness level to gain their assistance and cooperation.


Outcome

Because of the quality and the abundance of training that the Chicago Police Department members and outside agencies received from the agency’s Education and Training Division, all of the Chicago police officers and outside agencies worked well together as a disciplined team during the NATO Summit. The officers displayed their stellar training on a world stage. The front-line officers displayed their patience and restraint, which visibly frustrated some protesters who tried to illicit excessive responses. During some skirmishes with violent demonstrators where bottles, rocks, and other objects were thrown at the police, the officers made arrests quickly and efficiently. Additionally, when aggressive groups of protesters charged police formations, the police lines proved to be impenetrable.2

Numerous dignitaries congratulated the Chicago Police Department on its outstanding performance during the NATO Summit. President Barack Obama praised the 12,000 member police force by referring to the department as “Chicago’s finest.” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated, “If Seattle in 1999 was [a] lesson of what not to do, I think Chicago will be a lesson of what to do.”3 The mayor went on to say a special thank you to the police for doing a “tremendous job under very stressful situations” throughout the entire NATO Summit.4 Also, a professional baseball team offered all 12,000 police officers in Chicago two free tickets to one of its home baseball games in 2012 in appreciation for the service and professionalism provided during the NATO Summit.5

Thanks to the numerous training courses written and facilitated by the Chicago Police Department’s Education and Training Division, the 2012 NATO Summit was a success. In total, the Education and Training Division trained more than 16,500 of its own members in the various NATO-related courses during an eight-month period. There were minimal arrests, most protests remained peaceful, and the police officers served the city of Chicago with honor, pride, professionalism, integrity, courage, and excellence. ♦


Notes:

1Andrew Stern, “Chicago Braces for Violence at NATO Summit,” Chicago Tribune, May 15, 2012, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-15/news/sns-rt-us-nato-summit-securitybre84f037-20120515_1_nato-summit-new-riot-gear-chicago-braces (accessed July 17, 2012).
2Dan Marcou, “The NATO Conference: ‘A Job Well Done!’” PoliceOne.com, May 28, 2012, http://www.policeone.com/Crowd-Control/articles/5641946-The-NATO-Conference-A-job-well-done (accessed July 17, 2012).
3Andrew Stern, “Chicago Police Erase 1968 Stain at Last with NATO Summit,”Chicago Tribune, May 22, 2012, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-22/news/sns-rt-nato-summitpolice-analysis-pixl1e8gmjla-20120522_1_nato-summit-chicago-police-police-and-protesters (accessed July 17, 2012).
4Kristen Mack, Rick Pearson, Bob Secter, “Summit Ends without Giving Chicago a Black Eye,” Chicago Tribune, May 22, 2012, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-22/news/ct-met-nato-chicago-performance-0522-20120522_1_nato-summit-summit-ends-mayor-rahm-emanuel (accessed July 17, 2012).
5“White Sox Pay Tribute to Chicago Cops for Work during NATO Summit,” CBS Chicago, May 23, 2012, http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/05/23/white-sox-pay-tribute-to-chicago-cops-for-work-during-nato-summit/ (accessed July 17, 2012).

Please cite as:

Howard Lodding and Mark Sedevic, "Training for the NATO Summit: The Chicago Model," The Police Chief 79 (September 2012): 46–48.

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From The Police Chief, vol. LXXIX, no. 9, September 2012. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.








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