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Managing Protests: A National Study of Police Policies and Practices

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $599,999)

The project seeks to better understand how police agencies plan for and respond to protest events to identify promising practices for preventing civil disturbances. The first goal is to field a nationally representative survey to provide a comprehensive snapshot of police policies, equipment, and training related to protests and demonstrations. The survey will also collect information about the number of protest events police have responded to since 2014 and how many have resulted in civil disturbances. The second goal is to develop an in-depth understanding of agency and officer-level decision making when preparing for and responding to protests, as well as perceptions about what strategies and tactics are effect and primary challenges faced. This study will also gauge the community’s perception about the police role at protests and experiences interacting with officers during these events. Six agencies, based on responses to the national survey, will be selected to participate in interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders from those jurisdictions who can provide meaningful insights about police response to protests (including police leaders, front-line officers, and community stakeholders). They will also be involved in the development of an “event-level” database to assess the nature of protests and the police responses to them. This mix-methods study will enhance understanding of crowd management techniques and ultimately influence police practice and research. In order to maximize project impact, the findings will be disseminated to multiple audiences (i.e., practitioners, policymakers, researchers) using PERF’s capacity to convey policy-relevant information to various stakeholders. Outlets for the research will include project reports, major academic journals, conference presentations, webinars, and a series of short and easily digestible research briefs designed for policymakers, journalists, and the general public.  "Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR  200.210(a)(14). CA/NCF

Date Created: October 22, 2021