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CMPD Takes Notes In Chicago

Top Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers went to Chicago this week to take notes on how that city's force handled large protests at the NATO summit. CMPD Deputy Chief Harold Medlock expects demonstrations of similar size and tone during the Democratic National Convention in September. "I saw a lot of things that gave us some great ideas about how we manage crowds and de-escalate some of the crowd behaviors," says Medlock. "But I'm not gonna tell you what those are (until after we've employed them at the DNC)." The NATO protests were largely peaceful. Chicago police used bicycles to escort protesters, as did CMPD during the recent protest of Bank of America. Chicago police also focused on "extracting" individuals who broke the law, rather than confronting entire crowds. CMPD will have expanded abilities to search protesters and prohibit potentially dangerous items because of the city's new "extraordinary event" ordinance. Medlock says the police response he witnessed in Chicago this week demonstrated the need for that kind of an ordinance. CMPD will have another opportunity to test it this weekend when the annual SpeedStreet festival draws 400,000 people Uptown. A late-night disturbance at the conclusion of last year's event resulted in several fights and a shooting death.