Posted Thursday, December 12th, 2019
Officers in the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections have undergone intensive, hands-on training on how to firmly and lawfully maintain control of crowds during emotion-packed public gatherings, rallies and protests.
The field force training took place this week on the premises of the Morris County Correctional Facility in Morris Township and was led by retired Morristown Police Chief Peter Demnitz, a recognized expert in crowd and riot control who taught the sessions according to national standards.
Demnitz combined discussion of civil disobedience and First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly with practice of physical maneuvers that Corrections Officers and all law enforcement Officers should use to protect themselves and the public from potential injury.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, who has observed the crowd control training undertaken by many Officers in the Office’s two bureaus, said that Officers can expect to be called upon at any time to help preserve a safe environment – whether during a union dispute, a march or an organized protest.
“Regardless of who the parties are we have a duty to protect them,” Sheriff Gannon said.
As long as alternative opportunities are provided for free speech expression, the time, place and manner of that expression – such as a public protest – can be restricted when public safety is at stake, Instructor Demnitz advised.