Jail preparation for mass arrests

When mass arrests occur, don’t be caught flat-footed

The last couple of years have seen an increase in large-scale protests and civil disturbances. When these incidents occur, a lot of people get arrested and are taken to jail. And that means you have to deal with a mass influx of people in your booking and housing areas. 

So, how can we prepare for such events? First, communicate with your law enforcement and judicial partners. They may have useful suggestions for ways to streamline or expedite the booking process. For example, curfew violations may not require fingerprinting, photographing and the like. You may be able to obtain a special court order to hold arrestees during the hours the curfew is in effect.  

Second, have a plan in place to handle the extra volume of work. Extra staffing, shifting normal staff duties, curtailing programs and other non-mandatory events, and making room to house the influx of arrestees are all things we can plan in advance. 

Long-time watchers of Today’s Tips can guess my next suggestion. Review your policies! Can you get additional resources, maybe from allied agencies? Can corrections staff get involved in field operations closer to the scene of the event? That can divert transport and search implications away from your facility. Who from your facility will be in charge of assisting law enforcement both at the scene and in reviewing the incident in an after-action format? 

One last bonus suggestion: Resist the idea of housing mass arrestees together in your facility. This can result in a continuation of the activities that led to their arrest, creating a more complex situation for jail personnel. 

When mass arrests occur, don’t be caught flat-footed. Communicate, plan and know your policies so you’re ready to meet the challenge. 

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off. 

For more tips from Gordon, click here.

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