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Understanding Police Strategies for Responding to Protests

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $718,061)

RAND proposes a multi-phase approach to: 1) understand the pattern and profile—including the role of police—of non-violent and violent protests across the United States since 2017, 2) identify the policing strategies and tactics that work best under different circumstances to prevent, disrupt, or mitigate violence at large public gatherings, and
3) understand the role that community-police relationships and partnerships play in determining the police response and protest outcomes. Starting with existing protest event data being already collected, the project will begin by creating a database of protest events from 2017-2021 that is informed by the existing protest policing literature and use novel text analytics to further characterize protest events. They will characterize the observed protests in these data, and create a typology of protest events that includes both protestor and police behavior. They will use these data to conduct 10 case studies that correspond to the developed typology and maximize variation in protest characteristics. These case studies will be used to understand the role of community engagement and the decision making and planning processes of key actors including the police, protest organizers, and government officials. They will use the findings of these case studies to conduct an expert workshop to identify best practices and key components of the police response to protest events, with an emphasis on the process for community engagement. Finally, they will synthesize the findings and provide recommendations for key elements for preparation and response to protest events. In addition to a final research report, this project will produce at least one academic journal article and a practitioner-focused brief. They will also archive our protest event data and coded interview and workshop data with NACJD.  "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