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That's a Wrap! Local Cops Return Home After Week at DNC

The long week of DNC activity came to a close and not too soon for me. I learned some new things and discovered that the secret to a good demonstration was a drummer with rhythm.

 

Thursday was a long day but the final day of our detail in Charlotte. We spent very little time around anyone other than protesters so I had plenty of time to see them in action and see how they matched up to the law enforcement plan.

I really don't think this was the varsity of the Occupy Movement. I was not sure why more people didn't participate. What better stage for your (endless) causes than the DNC?

Charlotte has about 1,700 or 1,800 cops. This week they easily had twice that amount from dozens of other agencies. Three hundred alone were on bicycles which, in my opinion, was the best move of the convention.

The bike cops were highly mobile and could move into position quickly. Also on the front line were the mobile field force cops. Those were the guys and girls who, along with the bike officers, had some toe-to-toe time with the demonstrators. They moved in vans and trucks equipped with side rails to hang on to. They moved up and dismounted and were in place in on a few minutes.

The demonstrators were highly agitated with the mobility of the cops. What they wanted to do was break off into smaller groups and "occupy" areas near the Time-Warner Cable Arena. You just can't run amok. Sorry.

By 10 p.m. we were in downtown Charlotte, following the demonstration group of maybe 70 people. We expected hundreds more. Maybe it was the hot (very humid) weather or fatigue from the previous week's RNC in Tampa, but they didn't have thier A-Game going in Charlotte.

The big indicator was the low arrest count--maybe 10 and those were breaking the line. Another thing I noticed that took away from the "Occupy" mystique was the terrible chanting. The main chanter should yell a chant and the crowd follows right? Well, if the chant is too long, some in the crowd can't remember the words so we got a lot of long chants followed by some loud mumbling and puzzled looks. You should not look puzzled when demonstrating.

Another thing: Never underestimate the importance of a drummer with rhythm. The two guys I saw couldn't figure it out. One, two, three, bang! One, two three, bang! What's so hard about that? The drummer guys were never in sync. You must drum in sync!

Another thing, if you bring a band, as they did on Thursday night, remember the band drowns out the chanting! When the band stopped playing and the chanter began chanting what ever it was he wanted to say, one of the officers asked the band if they would play another song. They said "sure" and struck up another tune and thus drowning out the chants. Our secret weapon revealed.

By midnight, the demonstrators were back in the park and for the most part, getting hammered on the drug or drink of choice. The rumor of the 12:30 a.m. demonstration never materialized. They were done. By today, the order to vacate the park was given. The Charlotte cops were going to enforce the eviction today. We were gone by 10 a.m. Outta here! No more dorm rooms and small beds.

Overall, most of the demonstrators I spoke with were okay people who had a cause. Abortion activist, gay rights, political activists, all were people wanting a voice. Please don't include Westboro Baptist Church in that. Those folks repulse anyone and everyone. Karma will take care of them one day.

Privately, I can have a conversation with our demonstrators as long as the cameras weren't rolling. Different story when they are, but that's part of the game. We know that. 

Don't stop voicing opinions on your cause. We may have to stand on opposite sides of the line but say it loud and say it proud because I'm okay with that. Just keep the chanting short so you can remember it and for goodness sakes, get a drummer who has some rhythm.  

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uncomtorable sigh September 09, 2012 at 01:38 PM
While I always appreciate everything a police officer has to do in life, this entire article is written with the tone of "us vs them". We should always remember who these "demonstrators" are. The media would love us to believe a bunch of pot smoking, beer drinking "hooligan hippies", living in tents and riding bikes, kids who'd rather run around doing nothing than getting a job. Some have even boasted "you know, those Ron Paul followers...". That message, pushed with a strong agenda, has no doubt been very effective. But as you truly know, the people representing are far from that, they are very well educated, many successful entrepreneurs, all trying to let the rest of us know that the powerful messages from FOX, CNN, and MSNBC, aren't how it must be. I understand the police have a very tough job - everyday. But when an officer embarks down the path of a "lets go get 'em..." attitude, their job at protecting society is over, and the quest to fulfill an agenda coming down from a much higher pay scale, is just beginning. When our police force becomes nothing more than a quiet unit of the military, where orders are never questioned, your job isn't to think or analyze situations, using sound judgement, but rather to just "follow orders" from above, God help us all. Glad you made it back safe.
don Gabacho September 09, 2012 at 03:52 PM
"Greetings from Charlotte. Sandy Springs Police, like many others across the nation, have a contingency of officers in Charlotte as the DNC begins."---Steve Rose Who paid for all these out-of-state police going to Charlotte? And how were the cities they came from reimbursed, if in fact not docked their pay, for the time spent elsewhere?
don Gabacho September 09, 2012 at 04:00 PM
"God help us all."---uncomfortable sigh Yes. The transition from peace officers to para-military-style units over the past decade or two has been startling while veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are applying methods and attitudes learned in those two countries here in our own.
Raven September 09, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Don- I never thought I'd see the day that I would agree with you on something- but I do agree with your last statement.
What goes around comes around September 09, 2012 at 06:49 PM
My dear Captain - thank you for serving your country so well, and so glad you have safely returned! Unfortunately, it appears these idiotic commenters don't understand your sardonic wit, nor your purpose and the purpose of having adequate protection at an event like this. Yet, they are the same ones who would be denigrating you "paramilitary" people, had some unfortunate attack taken place, and no one was there to help prevent it. Don't worry - most people do understand, it's just that the Patch has become a dumping ground for bitter, angry trolls, so don't take it all too seriously. Thank you again for risking your life to protect so many others !!
Rhonda Sult September 10, 2012 at 02:48 AM
The DNC paid as did the RNC in Florida.
Rhonda Sult September 10, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Thanks to all the police and fire who accepted the DNC call to protect the President of the United States of America. We police wives missed our husbands greatly but understand the necessity of being prepared for trouble during an event such as the DNC or the RNC.
don Gabacho September 10, 2012 at 03:57 AM
"The DNC paid as did the RNC in Florida."---Rhonda Suit Glad to hear it.
don Gabacho September 10, 2012 at 04:51 AM
"My dear Captain - thank you for serving your country so well..."---WGACA "We spent very little time around anyone other than protesters so I had plenty of time to see them in action and see how they matched up to the law enforcement plan...What better stage for your (endless) causes than the DNC?"---SR "...and the purpose of having adequate protection at an event like this..."---WGACA "The bike cops were highly mobile and could move into position quickly. Also on the front line were the mobile field force cops. Those were the guys and girls who, along with the bike officers, had some toe-to-toe time with the demonstrators. They moved in vans and trucks equipped with side rails to hang on to. They moved up and dismounted and were in place in on a few minutes."---SR "What they wanted to do was break off into smaller groups and "occupy" areas near the Time-Warner Cable Arena. You just can't run amok. Sorry."---SR Despite: "The First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibiting the making of any law interfering with the right to peaceably assemble...
don Gabacho September 10, 2012 at 04:53 AM
..."Yet, they are the same ones who would be denigrating you 'paramilitary' people, had some unfortunate attack taken place..."---WGACA Yes. Apparently the lousy drum rolls weren't too irritating. "...most people do understand, it's just that the Patch has become a dumping ground for bitter, angry trollsrisking..."---WGACA "Please don't include Westboro Baptist Church in that. Those folks repulse anyone and everyone. Karma will take care of them one day."---SR "Unfortunately, it appears these idiotic commenters don't understand your sardonic wit, nor your purpose..."---WGACA Damn all those "trolls"! All those "trolls" who signed the Bill of Rights!
don Gabacho September 10, 2012 at 05:01 AM
"Thanks to all the police and fire who accepted the DNC call to protect the President of the United States of America."---Rhonda Suit The President of the USA and DNC have no greater right to peaceably assemble than anyone else in the United State of America. If the President of the USA and DNC do not know how to peacefully assemble without interfering with the rights of others to peacefully assemble, then they have no business being either President of the United States of America or a political party's National Committee for the United State of America.
What goes around comes around September 10, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Actually Don, I was referring to YOU. Time to get back under the bridge before it gets dark.
don Gabacho September 10, 2012 at 09:44 PM
"Actually Don, I was referring to YOU."----WGACA Obviously. I was being "sardonic." How does it strike you that most everything SR posted demonstrates how law enforcement officers are, at least at such events, politically profiling rather than being, as they should, neutral?

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