Thursday, January 31, 2008

Minimizing LEO Harassment at Gatherings

There are things that we can do to minimize the negative
impact of LEO presence at gatherings and render them
relatively impotent.

First off, every cop that sets foot anywhere in the
gathering should have an escort. Escorted cops can't do much
damage. However, it's very important
that police escorts be done appropriately.

I'm sure there are many other ideas floating around, but
as someone who has been spending a lot of time walking
with cops these last few years.

People escorting police
should not interfer in their actions and keep a safe distance -
generally 25 to 30 feet - maybe a bit further if you're a young man.

Someone should run ahead and yell six-up to warn our family
that cops are enroute.

Hopefully, someone has video equipment and is capturing the entire
thing on tape, computer chips or whatever. You never know
when a calm cop walk will blow up and the camera needs to be working
before the blow up.

People doing escorts should not have any outstanding warrants or be carrying
anything on their person that would be judged illegal by a court of law.

It helps if you have can display a non-confrontational demeanor and remember
to walk like Ghandi or Robin Williams.

It's best to have three or more people doing this on each escort, but due to a lack
of folks helping with cop watch these last few years, I've spent a lot
of time on my own with 6 or 8 cops in the woods - definitely not a
great situation and one I don't recommend unless you have a lot of
practice under your belts.

If you can carry on a friendly low key conversation with any of the officers,
that helps minimize tension.

Horse cops need escorts and that's a great job for people looking for a
good workout or for people who brought horses.

If anything happens, video, write down details and if someone is arrested,
make sure someone knows and will go after them to town and bail them out.
If you don't know the person being arrested or their friends,
go to INFO and post an announcement, let the INFO crew now and please
announce it at main circle.

We all know how hard scouting is and access roads are both a blessing
and a curse. They provide ease of access for disabled family and
kitchens bringing in supplies in hand carts. Unfortunately they also
allow ease of access for the USFS LEOs.

As we don't know what this year's site will be, there's a couple of things
we can do to minimize problems. Keep kitchens and camps off the road.
Just cause a road goes through or near the sites, doesn't mean everyone
needs to set up there. Explain to people before the gathering, at the
front gate, at Welcome Home and when you see them setting up that the
folks camped near the road or hanging out there are easy pickens for cops.

If you don't deal well with cops, then please don't. When someone yells
six-up, just fade into the woods and let them pass. Talk about passive

OK Here's my pitch for middle aged + women. I'd love to have a tight
crew willing to do cop walks together and even do it naked if we need to.
Nothing like some nice cellulite and saggy breasts to take the fight
out of the cops. I think middle aged + women make awesome cop walkers.
The cops generally aren't threatened, we tend to be good at idle chit chat,
and it's a great way to walk off those extra pounds.

Finally, cop watch is not an organized thing. If you see cops walking
or driving and they are not being escorted, then tag you're it. If you
get tired, try to recruit replacements before you drop out.

And my desperate plea. If someone walking with the cops taps you on the shoulder
and asks you to run a message to someone, please take this seriously
and do as you are asked - the person you keep out of jail might be your
husband, wife, brother or daughter. We need to work together on this.