Local Law Enforcement Talks Riot Training

Local Law Enforcement Talks Riot Training

In light of the Ferguson protests and riots, a freelance reporter describes the scene as local law enforcement discusses how it trains for these kinds of situations.
Hundreds are flocking to Ferguson to rally in honor of Michael Brown, the teen shot and killed by a police officer in Missouri.

Over the past week, rallying has turned into rioting and some have criticized the police’s response.

Former Peoria reporter Justin Glawe is in Ferguson seeing first-hand how the city and St. Louis County police officers have handle the tense atmosphere. Instead of calming the protesters  down, the officers seem to only anger crowds more.
 
"There's been really bad public relations and communications on the part of both St. Louis County PD and Ferguson PD to begin all of this," Glawe said.

Thursday, Missouri’s governor put Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson in charge of the police force, and with a shift in police presence came a shift in mood in the St. Louis suburb.

"It was basically just a party in the streets for a better part of four or five hours and not a single cop in sight," Glawe said.

But what is the correct way to respond to these kinds of situations? There may not be one answer, but Pekin police officer Mike Eeten describes the department’s training for rallies and riots. He says training only goes so far.

"As police are trained to deal with all kinds of different situations, and there's no one scenario that is ever the same," Eeten said.

While protesting is allowed, Eeten says Pekin officers will always be on hand just in case.

"A lot of times when you see police agencies bring a lot of manpower out for a protest, it's not necessarily because they want to shut that down. It's because they want to make sure that it doesn't escalate into something else," he said.

Building a relationship with the community can help avoid potentially dangerous situations.

"Our goal, obviously, is to serve protect, to reach out to people and do what's good for them, and the last thing we want to do is harm them even if they're trying to harm us, but sometimes, unfortunately that is what happens,” Eeten said.
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