Award Date

August 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Criminal Justice

First Committee Member

Tamara Herold

Second Committee Member

Melissa Rorie

Third Committee Member

William Sousa

Fourth Committee Member

Robert Futrell

Number of Pages



Several policing strategies have been used to manage protest crowds over the past 50 years. Research suggests that escalated force and command and control strategies were utilized until the 1990’s (Bourne, 2011; Schweingruber, 2000), while negotiated management has emerged as a prominent protest management strategy within recent decades (Gillham, 2011; Gillham & Noakes, 2006). While literature describes the general evolution of protest strategies over time, there has been no systematic documentation of police approaches to crowd management.

This study examines police policies governing protest management to identify current U.S. police practices. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) provides model policies to help police agencies become familiar with best practices and develop their own policies. The IACP’s model policy on crowd management and control was used to identify tactics that represent best practice standards for protest management in the United States. Through a content analysis of policies from a sample of U.S. police agencies, this study assesses agency compliance with the IACP model policy on crowd management and control, as well as alignment with existing protest management strategies.

Findings inform our understanding of current police protest management practices and offer policy implications. First, this study shows that there is a great deal of variation among protest management policies used within the sample agencies. Second, sample agency policies tend to adopt best practice escalated force tactics more often than command and control or negotiated management practices. Finally, three specific themes related to community-oriented policing, strict enforcement and use of force, and regional differences emerge from bivariate and multivariate analyses. These themes offer direction for future theory development and protest management research.


Collective Behavior; Crowd Management; Crowds; Policing; Policing Strategy; Protest Management


Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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