Lessons Learned from the Post-George Floyd and Capitol Protests

Lessons Learned from the Post-George Floyd and Capitol Protests
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-08-23
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Lessons Learned from the Post-George Floyd and Capitol Protests
Unit 2 Transcript: Lessons Learned from the Post-George Floyd and Capitol Protests
Unit 3 Workbook: Lessons Learned from the Post-George Floyd and Capitol Protests
Unit 4 Recording: Lessons Learned from the Post-George Floyd and Capitol Protests

2020 is one for the books for law enforcement. In between the pandemic and civil unrest, the other existing organizational challenges, and the regular calls for service, law enforcement was not given a chance to breathe and had to shift tactics, innovate, and wing it to manage everything being thrown at them. This session unpacks lessons learned and promising practices that agencies put into place during the mass demonstrations to serve as a guide should there be a similar large-scale event to happen in other jurisdictions.

This session’s esteemed panel of resource speakers are:

  • Christine Johnson, Project Associate, National Policing Institute
  • Frank Straub, Director of the National Policing Institute’s Center for Targeted Violence Prevention
  • Caroline Huffaker, Senior Program Manager at the National Policing Institute
  • David Roddy, Retired Police Chief of the Chattanooga Police Department

Topics covered in this webinar include:

  • An overview of the National Policing Institute (NPI), its history, goal, and priority areas.
  • The key resources the NPI has released particularly those related to protest response as the After-Action Reviews (AARs), 21st Century Protest Response and Health and Wellness Guides.
  • The After Action Reviews conducted for the LAPD, Columbus, Ohio, and Charlotte, North Carolina that provided guidance on key points to consider in protest response.
    • Fostering online and in-person police-community relationships even before any critical incident to open-up dialog between the community and the agency.
    • How Charlotte, NC employed Dialogue Officers to engage with the citizens, reduce tension, and facilitate communication between the agency and the public.
    • The value of having a plan on incident command and emergency protocol, the people that should make up the planning team, and coordination between law enforcement and elected officials.
    • The different law enforcement areas where training must exist and have the corresponding policy to accompany it.
    • How Social Media is leveraged to mobilize people and how law enforcement can likewise use it to anticipate their strategies.
    • The importance of providing officer safety and wellness resources not just during times of protests but also to manage day-to-day challenges they face in their professional and personal life.
  • Chattanooga’s experience navigating protests within their jurisdiction.
    • A glimpse into the city of Chattanooga and its history, its police department’s operations, and its history with protests and mass mobilizations as far back as the 1960s.
    • Recounting the 2020 protests – how long it lasted, the groups that led the protest, the size of the crowd, and the resources leveraged during the protests.
    • Recognizing that their existing tactics and playbook don’t quite apply to the circumstances and shifting their tactics accordingly.
    • How they changed the dynamic of the crowd vis-à-vis the officers on the streets in an effort to de-escalate and prevent violence and destruction of property.
    • Their approach to deal with individuals who committed crimes, being careful not to agitate the protesters and the community.
    • The value of executive staff presence throughout the ordeal to have conversations with community members, keep staff in the loop, and be on top of what’s going on to guide decision-making.
  • Preparations, reflections, and lessons learned that are central during the experience which highlight the importance of preparedness, community engagement, wellness of the officers, communication, and after-action reviews.

Questions from the webinar audience are about:

  • Periodic review and update of response plans.
  • Accessing NPI resources.
  • Utilizing non-uniform and unarmed officers in the protest.
  • Ways that smaller agencies can effectively manage large-scale coordinated protests and events.
  • Overcoming issues and conflicts between law enforcement and city leadership.



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Resources and Handouts



Audience Comments

  • “All was good. I do like that the Chief said to talk to the officers every day.” — Corey
  • “Chief Roddy’s experience with his department and how they dealt with protesters in their city, learning what worked and what didn’t. I appreciate how he supported his officers, checked on their mental health, and respected protesters while doing a difficult job.” — Joseph
  • “Lessons in listening to community and de-escalation were very helpful, thank you!” — Bob
  • “The means of crowd control not specifically taught but spread by successful use (i.e., the one-block cordon).” — Duane
  • “Investing in mental wellness on the front end will pay dividends on the back end; employees will know that when they are expected to act in incidents similar to those of 2020 that they can count on support in many forms during downtime and in the aftermath of the acute crisis.” — Mary
  • “It was really fascinating and beneficial to see how Chattanooga responded to the protests versus other cities, and how they deescalated a potentially catastrophic mass-casualty event without further incident. With protests and counter-protests on the rise, several agencies may benefit from additional Webinars regarding protest and counter-protest de-escalation strategies.” — Sarah-Alexandra
  • “The importance of both activists and police understanding each other’s different worlds. Office Roddy was excellent.” — Robert



About the National Policing Institute: Formerly known as the National Police Foundation, the National Policing Institute’s mission is to pursue excellence in policing through innovation and science. It is the oldest nationally-known, non-profit, non-partisan, and non-membership-driven organization dedicated to improving America’s most noble profession – policing.

The National Policing Institute has been on the cutting edge of police innovation for over 50 years since it was established by the Ford Foundation as a result of the President’s Commission on the Challenge of Crime in a Free Society (1967) and the related conclusions of the Kerner and Eisenhower Commissions, taking place during the same era.



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