One of the most destructive, man made events for municipal law enforcement and security forces, are large scale civil disturbances - riots. I’ve had the opportunity to respond to several such events. Some were anticipated, such as planned protests, and others broke out with little advance notice. In all cases, there was a very real threat to not just property, but also to first responders. And the fact of the matter is, we are likely heading towards another time in our history where we can expect large scale civil disturbances. With the task of quelling or simply controlling the event, falling to local agencies. And for that reason, the first responders need the proper gear.
The right safety gear will serve many purposes. First of all, it obviously protects the wearer. A protective suit and helmet, such as those offered by Security Pro, will provide near total body impact protection. This will greatly reduce injuries or the chance of injuries. For a smaller, or medium sized law enforcement agency, this can be a significant money saver by lowering workers comp claims. A single injured employee may end up costing well more than the cost of outfitting a large group of first responders.
Secondly, well protected employees are more confident, and less likely to over react. This too can save money by limiting claims resulting from use of force. And of course, a well geared first responder has an imposing presence that, while distasteful to some, may very well serve to limit the behavior of those people who are creating disorder. Staring at a line of well-equipped personnel, who are covered in protective gear, can make even the most ardent protestor realize that their compliance and good behavior is in their best interest.
So, let’s take a look at a couple of pieces of essential riot gear. First is the helmet. Bottles, rocks, bricks, and other debris are frequent hand propelled missiles in such events. Protecting one’s head is a priority. Security Pro offers the SecPro Police Riot Helmet that gives full cranial protection. This helmet includes a face shield to protect the eyes and face, and even a neck protector. The helmet is sized to allow the use of a gas mask. And the neck protector will help with exposure of the neck to chemical agents. Anyone who has been in a riot with CS or other chemical agents can tell you, if the back of the neck is left unprotected, you will feel the burn. The clear face shield is a must and I would never recommend a riot helmet without such protection. Even if chemicals are not sued in crowd dispersal, liquids, acids, and other items might be thrown at the responders faces. Having the face shield is nearly mandatory.
For the remainder of the body, Security Pro offers the SecPro RCS2 Riot Control Suit. Even if you just provide this to the front line of the crowd control troops, it will make a huge difference. The officers will be protected from blunt trauma attacks which might include not just thrown items, but physical attacks with hands, feet and other weapons such as protest sign sticks and the like. In recent civil disturbances we have seen protesters using chains, hammers, bike locks and a host of other blunt force weapons. A full body suit that will protect the wearer from such things will go a long way towards reducing injuries and helping to quickly quell the disturbance.
Society is not getting better. We continue to find reasons to not just disagree, but to violently disagree. First responders will be the front lines and frequently the only lines to stand between angry protestors and a community. Those officers and security personnel should have the benefit of the finest protections available for this daunting task.
About the writer
Military and Law Enforcement Veteran
FBI certified firearm instructor
MP5 and Sub Machine gun instructor
Defensive tactics instructor