The recent death of a 21-year-old college student near Boston’s Fenway Park is a reminder that crowd control is one of the toughest challenges for the police nationwide, the New York Times says. “I’ve known some police chiefs who now hope their hometown team doesn’t win because controlling a big crowd can be so difficult,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, an organization of police chiefs that promotes smarter law enforcement.
The 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, when 35,000 protesters appeared and the police sprayed tear gas and rubber pellets at many demonstrators, “really woke up the police,” said Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske. Many
police forces devote much more time to planning and training for demonstrations, and have invested heavily in what are termed less-than-lethal weapons. Kathleen O’Toole, Boston’s police commissioner, has appointed an independent commission, headed by a former United States attorney here, Donald Stern, to investigate the student’s death.