“Department Training Bulletins shall be used to advise members of current police techniques and procedures and shall constitute official policy.”
Department General Order A—7; 21 July 1989
Date of Issue / Revision: 28 Oct 05
First Amendment activities include all forms of speech and expressive conduct used to convey ideas and/or information, express grievances, or otherwise communicate with others and include both verbal and non-verbal expression. Common First Amendment activities include, but are not limited to, speeches, demonstrations, vigils, picketing, distribution of literature, displaying banners or signs, use of puppets to convey a message, street theater, and other artistic forms of expression. All these activities involve the freedom of speech, association, and assembly and the right to petition the government, as guaranteed by the United States Constitution (First Amendment) and the California Constitution (Article 1, Sections 2 & 3). All persons have the right to march, demonstrate, protest, rally, or perform other activities protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the California Constitution.
As used in this Training Bulletin, the term, demonstration, means a public display of a group’s or individual’s feeling(s) toward a person(s), idea, cause, etc and includes, but is not limited to, marches, protests, student walk-outs, assemblies, and sit-ins. Such events and activities usually attract a crowd of persons including participants, onlookers, observers, media, and other persons who may disagree with the point of view of the activity.
Considering the type of crowd involved is an important factor in responding properly to its behavior. Crowds may vary from cooperative or celebratory to non-compliant, hostile, and combative. Organized demonstrations in which some engage in coordinated, nonviolent civil disobedience should be distinguished, to the extent possible, from crowds in which substantial numbers of people are engaged in other types of unlawful acts.
Sufficient resources to make multiple simultaneous arrests should be available at demonstrations where such arrests are a reasonable possibility. However, this need must be balanced against the fact that a large and visible police presence may have a chilling effect on the exercise of free speech rights. Where additional resources are needed, they should be deployed to the greatest extent possible so they are not readily visible to the crowd. When possible, officers should be at their posts well in advance of arriving participants. If possible, officers should be positioned at a reasonable distance from the crowd to avoid a perception of intimidation.
Each officer shall wear a badge, nameplate, or other device on the outside of his or her uniform or on his or her helmet which bears the identification number or the name of the officer, as required by Penal Code § 830.10. The number or name shall be clearly visible at all times. The letters or numerals on helmets, jackets, and vests shall be clearly legible at a distance sufficient to provide a measure of safety for both officers and demonstrators/observers and, in no case, shall be less than two inches in height on helmets.
Verbal abuse against officers shall not constitute a reason for an arrest or for any use of force against such individuals.
OPD officers shall not penetrate a crowd for an individual arrest unless the targeted individual is involved in serious criminal conduct [think they have a similar policy in NYPD? Bridge arrests anyone?] and the decision to move into the crowd is made by a supervisor or commander.