Public Order Response and Operations Standards

The new Public Order Standards focus on maintaining order during large-scale events, protests, and civil unrest. These standards address crowd management techniques, de-escalation strategies, crowd dispersal methodologies, and the appropriate use of non-lethal force options. By establishing clear guidelines, law enforcement agencies can ensure that public order operations are conducted with the utmost professionalism, respect for human rights, adherence to constitutional rights, and minimal impact on the community.

This document is the result of extensive efforts by the National Tactical Officers Association to provide direction to association members involved in Public Order response and operations. The intent of this standard is to better prepare law enforcement to respond to Public Order events and violent civil unrest. It is the position of the NTOA that the decision to form a tactical law enforcement resource, specifically a Public Order Unit, carries with it the responsibility to provide the ongoing training, equipment, leadership and financial support necessary to create and maintain an effective response capability. Integral to this responsibility is the obligation to deploy and operate these resources in a manner that is consistent with constitutional principles with an emphasis on professional deportment under all circumstances.

Where size and/or demographics limit the capabilities of an agency, this standard necessitates that multi-jurisdictional resources be combined and coordinated in a manner consistent with reliable and safe operations. For almost 40 years, the National Tactical Officers Association has assisted many law enforcement agencies in developing multijurisdictional teams by providing references, documentation, and training to facilitate their efforts. The NTOA remains committed and available to any law enforcement agency or its members who require such assistance. The objective of this document is to establish a set of standards for the association’s member agencies.

The Public Order Response and Operations Standards integrates NIMS components and principles to standardize training, aid in the coordination and integration of agencies, promote consistent terminology while improving communication, and emphasize the importance of planning and written standard operating procedures.  It is intended to serve as an efficient core set of concepts and principles that improve standardization within the profession of Public Order law enforcement services.

 Any agency that chooses to use this standard as a benchmark for performance and operations does so voluntarily. The NTOA does not possess any enforcement authority.


Please download and read the NTOA Public Order Response and Operations Standards document. If you have questions or concerns, contact any member of your Board of Directors, and we will ensure that your issues are addressed during the next review and revision process.

Public Order Response and Operations Standards Copyright: All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented, without prior written permission of the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA), with the following exception: NTOA staff and training instructors are hereby given permission by NTOA to reproduce any or all of the contents of this manual for internal use within the organization or for training classes. No other individuals, private businesses and corporations, public and private agencies and colleges, professional associations, and law enforcement agencies may print or download this publication for commercial use without permission from the NTOA.

Questions about this copyright information or about obtaining permission to use NTOA developed publications may be addressed to the Executive Director at 1-800-279-9127.