News Alert: KTVA is On-Air - Watch Now - Read More
  • Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 34s

After Ferguson, APD chief outlines difference between protests and riots

By KTVA CBS 11 News 11:47 AM August 27, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

The recent shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri sparked protesting, rioting and looting in the streets. The incidents led to a massive police presence to help keep the peace.

Police Chief Mark Mew joined Daybreak Wednesday morning for the August edition of “Cup with the Chief” to talk about how the Anchorage Police Department would handle this type of situation.

Mew wants everyone to understand that there is a significant difference between a protest and a riot.

“A protest is an organized event,” he said. “It’s a group of people that have a grievance of some kind. They’re trying to make a point. They have a leader. They have an objective. Most of the time they have a permit or some notion of what the law requires them to do and where the boundaries are between legal and illegal behavior.”

According to the chief, APD has worked with protest organizers in the past, sometimes well in advance of a protest.

“We engage with their leadership,” Mew said. “We know what they’re about, we talk about how the rules of engagement will go. We figure out how to work with them.”

But protests can transform into riots when infiltrated by external forces, the chief says. Mew says he believes this can happen when people arrive from outside the city. Those people may try to “steal the protest” and turn it into a riot.

“We try to work together with protest organizers to figure out how to prevent that from happening,” Mew said. “Then we try to identify those infiltrators and remove them from the equation. We’re really there to keep the peace and help the protestors get what they want accomplished and not have crimes committed.”

The chief described a riot as “anarchy,” characterized by no leader and no objective. If a protest were to escalate, he says, APD would handle a riot with a tactical response. The degree of the response would depend on the degree of the threat. How much property is being destroyed and how many lives are being threatened are taken into consideration, he says.

“We would try to handle it with as little force as possible,” Mew said. “We do have SWAT teams, we do have equipment and larger ways of delivering force, but we don’t take that stuff lightly. We’re not the type of department that’s going to bring all that stuff out and show it off to send some sort of message.”

Mew outlined police protocol in riot situations. First, the department would assign smaller details to individual hot spots. If the situation goes on for days or gets too big to handle, APD would then set up an emergency operation center. Then, there may be declarations the mayor or governor would make. Afterward, the police department might request assistance from resources such as the National Guard.

Latest Stories

  • Crime

    Soldotna man charged with kidnapping, assault

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 21, 22:07

    A Soldotna man is in custody after troopers say he kidnapped and assaulted a female at a residence off the Kenai Spur Highway. On Thursday, Oct. 16, Alaska State Troopers and Central Emergency Services responded to a report of disturbance at the Soldotna residence at around 12:45 p.m. and were able to locate the person […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Oct. 21

    by KTVA Weather on Oct 21, 20:55

    Kenai Peninsula and Price William Sound Expect sunny skies, cooler in the morning, and daytime highs. Southeast The Panhandle will get another round of showers and an isolated thunderstorm for coastal southern areas. Interior/North Slope The Interior will get cloudy skies with a flurry or two at times. Snow with wind up to 35 mph […]

  • News

    Anchorage man runs nonprofit for free school supplies

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 21, 20:39

    Some people would call him the Santa Claus of school supplies, but it’s not a title Walter Ward wants. As far as he’s concerned, he’s only doing his job. Ward runs a nonprofit that provides free school supplies for low-income schools in Anchorage. He calls it the “Anchorage Teacher’s Store,” but it’s not a store […]

  • News

    Parnell sheds new light on Alaska National Guard firings

    by Bonney Bowman on Oct 21, 18:32

    The day after he fired three Alaska National Guard leaders, Alaska’s governor says more changes are coming. Gov. Sean Parnell says Guard members have expressed frustration over the timeline of the recent adjustments, that have all stemmed from a scathing report released in September. The report, conducted by the Office of Complex Investigations, showed that Guard […]

  • Crime

    Palins describe brawl in police recordings

    by CNN on Oct 21, 18:01

      Washington (CNN) – Bristol Palin describes being dragged through the grass and called a series of obscenities during a massive brawl last month in recordings of Anchorage police interviews that CNN obtained through a public records request. She said she jumped into a fight after “some old lady” pushed her sister, Willow Palin, because “oh […]

  • News

    Orphaned cubs find a home at Fortress of the Bear

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 21, 17:40

    One look at Sitka’s Fortress of the Bear and it’s easy to see how the rescue facility got its name. Brown bears roam around the two large tanks leftover from Sitka’s pulp mill that closed in 1993. “We’ve managed to upcycle these strong, industrial spaces into some really impressive bear habitats,” said bear manager Claire Turner. […]

  • News

    Mat-Su School District temporarily bans military recruitment

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 21, 15:22

    The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District has temporarily banned military recruitment from the district’s schools. This announcement follows the Anchorage School District’s ban of all military recruiters after the recent reports of alleged misconduct by Alaska Army National Guard recruiters on school campuses. In a release from the Mat-Su Borough School District, Dr. Deena M. Paramo publicized the change […]

  • Lifestyle

    Anchorage conducts survey on homelessness

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 21, 14:23

    Anchorage residents can voice their opinion in a survey about homelessness in the municipality. The results of the survey will be used as an informational source as officials work toward developing a five-year plan on how to end homelessness, according to a press release. Groups involved in the plan are the Anchorage Department of Health and […]