U.S. Department of Justice
Community Relations Service


Managing Major Public Events:
A Planning Guide for Municipal Officials,
Law Enforcement, Community Leaders,
Organizers, and Promoters



CRS Seal

November 2000

The Community Relations Service

The Community Relations Service (CRS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, was created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to help resolve community racial conflict through non-coercive, third party conciliation. CRS is called upon to assist communities to resolve disputes arising from alleged use of excessive force by police. CRS conciliators have extensive experience with the issues associated with racial and ethnic conflict.

CRS conducts formal mediated negotiations to help resolve differences between the police and community groups. In addition, CRS provides a wide range of informal assistance that attempts to keep communications open among affected parties and to facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution of the conflict. CRS offers its services either upon request or on its own initiative, when there is a threat of disruption to peaceful community relations.

The Community Relations Service is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle. Assistance may be requested directly from any of these offices.

Table of Contents

CRS Planning Team for Conference on
Spring Break and Special Events

Thomas Battles
Daryl Borgquist
Patricia Glenn
Efrain Martinez
Henry Mitchum
Richard Sambrano
Ernie Stallworth
Ozell Sutton
Lawrence Turner

Publication Team Credits

CRS would like to thank the teams of municipal officials, law enforcement, community leaders, student organizers, and promoters from the cities of Asbury Park, New Jersey; Atlanta, Georgia; Daytona Beach, Florida; Galveston, Texas; Myrtle Beach/Atlantic Beach/North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Quincy/Gretna, Florida; and Virginia Beach, Virginia. They gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 28-29, 1999, to share their experience and insights. A representative group of the participants helped to develop and design this publication in Washington, D.C., on December 1-2, 1999:


I am particularly concerned about racial or ethnic confrontations that could get out of hand and result in violence and danger to communities.

This guidebook describes what is required to help ensure that major public events run smoothly and safely.

We have successfully participated in many public events from national conventions to student demonstrations. As a result, our conciliators have developed extensive experience with the planning and issues involved in those events. Lessons learned from these events, from the partnerships we have formed with communities, and from the eight community case histories are the focus of this guidebook.

We hope that you can profit from the experience of others so that when a public event comes to your city it will be as peaceful as possible.

November 2000

"Planning for major events is not optional if there is any hope or desire for a successful event. There is no substitute for a planning process which involves, in a meaningful way, all the stakeholders. This publication provides a framework for working through the process and an opportunity to learn from and take advantage of the experiences of others. How one defines "success" may vary from community to community. Planning helps define the unique elements by which your community will measure "success." These expectations must be clearly defined and made known if you have any hope of positive response."

C. Oral Lambert
Chief Operating Officer
City of Virginia Beach, Virginia


Public Events and Potential Problems

This guide is the joint product of the Community Relations Service and representatives from eight cities who faced significant issues over hosting large gatherings of minority college-age youths for weekend events.

Most of these cities are beach communities where annual gatherings from 25,000 to 150,000 youths took place. The demand on community resources was significant and the prospect of increased racial tension and the possibility for disorder evident.

A review of the experience in these cities generated a list of potential community and participant concerns. For example:

Community Concerns

CRS will conduct an assessment and provide conciliation assistance to the community and law enforcement in San Antonio, Texas. Community tensions have arisen in the aftermath of racial slurs which were painted on the front doors of the Prince of Peace Baptist Church on Friday, December 1, 2000. The church has a black congregation. CRS will offer its expertise and guidance to address the racial tensions.

Participant Concerns

Recognizing "flash points" that could ignite civil disturbances is the first step in contingency planning. Municipal officials, law enforcement, community leaders, organizers and promoters should consider all of the possible problems well in advance of a public event.

"Planning for major events is not optional if there is any hope or desire for a successful event."

C. Oral Lambert
Chief Operating Officer
City of Virginia Beach, Virginia

Contingency Planning

The primary goal of contingency planning is to be prepared for all emergencies that might negatively impact residents in a community. Contingency plans are the specific written assignments of roles and functions during times of crises or for major community events. Each department, public and private organization should have a contingency plan. Personnel and alternates should be identified as contacts for emergency access.

A designated site for a command center should be part of any contingency plan. The command center should have representatives from the mayor's office, law enforcement, public works, fire department, and health organizations who will communicate and coordinate emergency activities.

Those in charge of the command center and the elected officials need to know what constitutional provisions, operating policies, and State statutes will be in effect when there is a public event or civil disorder condition. For example:

Before State assistance is summoned, all means of using non-coercive force should be employed. Staff of the Community Relations Service, minority community leaders, clergy, human relations commission, police chaplains, volunteers from minority police organizations, and community volunteers should be called upon to conduct conciliation and peacekeeping activities.

"It is the single focus event that causes the most problems and concerns."

Thomas E. Leath
City Manager
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Event Organizing and Planning

Who Is Involved in Event and Activity Planning?

The answer is everyone who can affect the outcome. This will include the mayor, city manager, police, and almost every municipal department In addition, the community must be mobilized and involved. Volunteers will be required. Community organizations and business must be involved.

The unique feature of many major events, such as Spring Break and Special Events is that they bring a large number of college-age and younger people to a community for the "event." These are usually minimal or few officially-sponsored activities. The main "event" is to be there to walk, to cruise in cars, to be seen, and to visit with other students. Thus, when the event comes to the city, everyone who works for the city - regardless of their regular duties - will be working on the event for that period. All of a city's resources, including churches, community organizations, and volunteers will be needed. The event is not solely the responsibility of the police and fire departments.

Pre-event Activities

Pre-event activities involve planning by all city, police, business, community, student, and promoter personnel to engage the resources necessary for a successful event. At this stage potential problems should be identified and addressed. Planning should occur six to nine months in advance of large events. Even if a firm date is not known in the early planning stages, it is usually well known that the activity will occur around a particular holiday or vacation time. The exact event date can be plugged in once it is publicized. Publication of exact dates is now usually accomplished through student organization Internet web sites, which local officials can monitor.

Public Forum. Hold public forums in the community and arrange for city officials to attend community organization meetings so that community residents are aware of the upcoming event and have their views included in the planning. Be sure to announce the traffic plan and try to involve residents in the event as volunteers. The community needs to know that there is no backdoor plan or hidden agenda. Use the public forum and any other community meeting to provide information. Be positive and upbeat. This is a time to show off your city and make people feel welcome.

Establish a budget. City and police officials will need to establish a budget and identify needed equipment. Know how much you have to spend and what can be volunteered or contributed from outside sources; then create a community task force for planning.

"The simplest thing can spark a major problem: a fight, someone blocking a driveway, or traffic. Police have to deal with the event and keep traffic moving along."

Lt. Edward Kirschenbaum
Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office
Freehold, New Jersey

Establish an effective traffic plan. The first and most important planning activity is to establish a traffic plan to handle participants, affected local residents and businesses, and emergency vehicles. Have a back-up plan if bottlenecks occur and traffic ceases to flow. Because many of these events occur in beach communities where natural boundaries define the road patterns, the options may be limited. Make work what you have. Young people will want to be near the beach, along the most popular major streets, or a particular park area. Experience shows that this real estate will be small and access limited, so you will have to develop a plan that allows access to the place everyone is trying to get to and keeps them moving through.

If the traffic plan fails, major problems will arise.

Work with media to develop a positive attitude. Involve the media early in letting them know you are aware of the event and are beginning to prepare for it. Establish a positive environment for the event. As the event gets closer, press releases, briefings, and announcements can be used to prepare the community.

Training for all who will be providing services. Training is the key for law enforcement, volunteers/task force members, internal staff, and outside agencies.

What should everybody expect? Many, including outside police help and internal staff members, may not know what they are going to face. Don't make assumptions about what you think they should know. Tell them what to expect, because this is different from most anything they have seen. Training for most of these people should take place right before the event.

What will be the role of each person? This is especially important for the volunteers. They need to know what they are expected and not expected to do.

What city information do they need? Many are coming from out of town, and even volunteers who live in the city may not know enough about the area to be helpful to a guest coming to the event. Give them maps and hotel lists of hotels, restaurants, and other sites to pass out when people start asking questions.

Recruitment and Training for Volunteers. Coordinate early all groups who will be part of the event, so that there is no need for rushed, last minute accommodation of groups seeking to join. There are several kinds of volunteers that cities can recruit for large events. Volunteers are very important, because they represent the face of the community and help to show that the community is embracing the event. This helps to create a positive feeling among the visitors to the community. Also, when local citizens are involved there will be less potential resentment and hostility from local residents to disruptions caused by the large numbers of visitors. The recruitment and training of these volunteers should be given a high priority. Start early by recruiting leaders for the volunteer groups.

The kinds of volunteers who can be recruited include "friendship teams," minority community or civil rights groups, police chaplains, volunteer minority police officers, and local volunteers to help with water stations, medical stations, and trash disposal. Local civic organizations can be invited to set up food and drink stands as fundraisers.

Establishment of Friendship Teams. Friendship Teams composed of local citizens can be formed to hand out welcome brochures. They can also help people find places to eat, identify local landmarks, find bathroom and medical facilities, and provide friendly faces to greet visitors. A cadre of city employees might be used as the core group of Friendship Teams.

They should be provided with maps of the area and thoroughly briefed on the traffic plan and event arrangements in order to guide visitors. They must be instructed that if they see a problem developing such as lewd behavior, public exhibitionism, fighting and so forth, to contact their leader, volunteer police officers, police chaplains, or a police officer. These volunteers are not police officers and should not engage in or interfere with police activity.

Training for Police. Make sure that police, both local and outside forces, know and understand the "philosophy of enforcement" used in your community. Make sure that the "philosophy of enforcement" remains the same year round. Make sure that officers know what the role of volunteers will be during the event. Police also need to know how to recognize the volunteers. Be sure to introduce the leaders of the volunteer groups and let them speak to the officers at pre-event roll calls. Some officers may not be comfortable with civilian volunteers assisting during the event.

"When a community embraces the event, the prospect of disorder is lessened."

Major Darlene M. Neely
Special Operations Section
Atlanta Police Department
Atlanta, Georgia

Involving and Informing the Community. City leaders should start meeting with community leaders and organizations as early as possible about major events. Use the media regularly to keep the public updated on event planning. Make sure that the event is a regular agenda item on city council meetings and is reported on by the city manager and department heads. The event should not come as a surprise to anyone in the community.

Coordination of City, County, and State Law Enforcement. Develop your traffic plan early and identify all of the law enforcement jurisdictions to be involved. In some cases, your traffic plan may involve a neighboring city or county jurisdictions that will need to be made part of the planning team. This coordination will be especially important to help visitors to leave the city at the end of the event. Everyone who has come will try to leave within a short period of time and law enforcement in all of the jurisdictions along the egress routes must be prepared for an unusually high volume of traffic. The welcome brochure should identify anticipated bottlenecks.

The host city's police department should identify their policing priorities and protocols for the event as early as possible; then brief and coordinate with other law enforcement commanders. The police department should establish a command post near the event site and have representatives of all of the jurisdictions and the volunteer organizations at the command post. The command post should be at a separate site from the police department headquarters. It will need separate telephones with well-publicized telephone numbers. Remote videos of the event area can be fed into the command center via microwave. It should also have computers, radios, and a fax machine. City or State Human Relations Commission representatives should also be used as a resource by the police department. A single command post for all law enforcement and other agencies is recommended. If another law enforcement organization establishes a separate command post, be sure that there are liaisons from each department at both command posts.

Most likely, all of the city's police officers will be needed for the event along with some from other jurisdictions. Develop a deployment plan that distributes the officers throughout the affected area, preferably in biracial or diverse teams. Encourage officers to be friendly and outgoing. Instruct officers to prevent problems from occurring by keeping animals out of the site, keeping traffic moving, and avoiding actions that would create attention and generate rumors. Tow trucks should be moving continuously through the area to tow stalled cars or illegally parked cars that block traffic. The lot to where cars are towed should be nearby so that the tow trucks can return to the site quickly. Cars can be recovered more quickly and easily if they are towed to a close site, lessening tensions and hard feelings. When arrests are required, those arrested should be moved out of the site quickly, quietly, and with as little force as possible. Special arrest extraction teams and SWAT teams, especially those wearing or carrying riot gear, should be kept out of sight and moved carefully to avoid creating tensions with visitors.

Total Coordination of City Services. The arrival of large numbers of visitors for a major event will require advance planning to ensure that bathroom facilities, drinking water, medical facilities, and additional trash containers are provided. This may be a heavy burden on the affected departments and require temporary use of personnel from other departments of the city. Volunteers from other departments can fill critical gaps in the schedule. Every city or county employee should be considered as a potential resource. Use the event as a team building experience that will bring employees and departments closer together. Make special T-shirts for the city employees for the event and all similar events.

Plenty of trash cans should be made available to contain and dispose of all refuse.

Develop a City Welcome Brochure. The welcome brochure should contain a greeting from the mayor, a map of the traffic plan and a description of periods when the traffic plan will be in effect, locations of water, medical, bathroom facilities, and the tow lot. Include telephone numbers for police, emergency services, and the towing services. Include information on local laws that will be enforced. An ending time for the event should be faxed and announced to allow city services to return to order for the next workday.

Use the Internet to Keep Event Participants and Regular Tourists Informed About Event Activities. Post information about events in your city on the city web site. The welcome brochure, traffic plan, towing policy, costs of towing, and local laws should all be posted on the web site. In addition, city officials and police should monitor student organization web sites and selected chat rooms in which students exchange information about the upcoming event. This information will be useful in preparing an effective traffic plan and preparing law enforcement for the event.

"For a tourist town, it is a real problem for one crowd to dominate."

Thomas E. Leath
City Manager
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Activities During the Event

Police Patrols and Enforcement Activity. The first major goal of all police activity will be implementing the traffic plan. The second goal will be to enforce the local laws and prevent conflicts from occurring. The policies governing these activities should be no different from those at other times of the year. Keep the snakes, dogs, and exotic animals and birds out of the event area, as they draw attention and create the potential for crowd control problems. Have ordinances in place year-round and publish them well in advance and in the welcome brochure. Post ordinance signs during the event and in hotel rooms.

Use plainclothes officers to reduce the number of uniforms among the crowd. Participants may become uneasy if they feel there is an excessive police presence. The majority of uniformed officers should be in marked cars directing traffic and on visible patrol. Use enough uniformed officers to let the crowd know that police are present to help maintain order, but not to raise crowd tensions. Be sensitive to how the crowds are responding to your officers. Use plainclothes officers and volunteers to help monitor and report on the mood and behavior of the crowd. A video surveillance system, if available, can help command officers gain an overall picture of the event and make appropriate deployment decisions.

Lewd behavior and other acts of public exhibitionism may occur. People will try to videotape this behavior and crowds will be drawn to the area. Disrobing women are vulnerable to theft of clothes, purses, money, and sexual attacks. Officers can prevent this by maintaining regular patrols of diverse teams of officers throughout the area who take action immediately. Plainclothes officers should be firm and fair. Make arrests only when absolutely necessary and use extraction teams to remove those arrested quickly out of the area. The volunteer police, police chaplains, and community teams will be very helpful in encouraging youth to behave appropriately. They can say and do a lot to ease tensions in these situations.

If stage performers engage in lewd behavior, expect it to be mimicked throughout the crowd. The situation may deteriorate into an uncontrollable situation, if you attempt to make arrests in the crowd. Instead, inform the performers in advance that any disrobing or lewd behavior will result in their removal and arrest. Enforce this strictly.

The biggest challenge will come from local people who use the event as cover for criminal activities. The large number of people allows criminals to mix in while the police are busy with crowd and traffic control.

Keep Traffic Moving. Typically between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. the police need to control cruising. There are minimal arrests during this period. When traffic stops moving, crowd control issues arise; tempers can flare and fights start, and pedestrian traffic can swell beyond capacity. Crime tends to increase during these situations. Remove parked cars that block traffic immediately. Do not allow double parking. Do not allow cars traveling in opposite directions to stop so occupants can talk with one another. Students will cruise, but keep them moving. Instruct your officers to be firm, but remain pleasant in their demeanor. When cars are towed, ensure that all officers and volunteers know where towed cars are taken and give them clear instructions to hand out to dispossessed motorists.

Employee and Volunteer Schedules. Keep the volunteer schedule reasonable. Do not underestimate the wear and tear of such events on volunteers. Shifts of 10-12 hours may be routine for employees during these events, but a 4-hour shift for volunteers is more reasonable.

Be sure that employees and volunteers are well fed. Arrange for a central food station (sandwiches, chips, cookies, and sodas or juice may be all that is needed). If possible, arrange for hot meals; but at least have the basics available. Rotate staff from their stations to get rest, go to the bathroom, and get something to eat and drink. During the summer it is especially important to ensure that staff has enough fluids. Hotel and motel associations or other community organizations may offer welcome hospitality rooms.

Trash. Ensure that sufficient trash cans and temporary receptacles are placed throughout the event area and that extra receptacles are placed in the heaviest visitor traffic areas. Check the trash cans regularly. Remove and tie-off full bags and place them nearby for later pickup. Replace with fresh bags. This will help keep your event area clean and encourage the visitors to be neat and clean. Arrange for trash to be picked up a couple of times during the event during periods when the fewest number of people will be present. Between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m. and mid-afternoon before car and pedestrian traffic gets heavy, will probably be the best times for trash pickup.

City street sweepers and trash trucks can be posted at key locations clearly visible from the event site near the ending time of the event. This will signal the conclusion of the event and the start of the clean up and unblocking of roads to get the city back into shape for the next work day.

Use of the Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice. CRS deploy biracial teams to event sites to assist in identifying potential conflict situations and to facilitate communication between event organizers, visitors and law enforcement. CRS can provide guidance on preventing conflict and restoring calm, and facilitating communication among the community, visitors, and officials.

After-Event Activities

Get the City Back in Order as Soon as Possible. By the end of a special events activity, the community will be ready to take a breather and recover. Return to normal traffic patterns as soon as possible. Have street sweepers and sanitation workers clean streets and remove trash as soon as possible, beginning immediately after the event.

Ensure that city employees and police get rest. All of those who helped with your event, from volunteers to police, will be tired. Set a schedule that will bring fresh officers and employees to work when the normal routine returns and allow the others to get rest. You will need many of these same people next year. Be sure to take care of them so that they will be ready to join the team for the next event.

Survey Opinions of Workers and Volunteers. Immediately after the event ask everyone to record their thoughts and recommendations. Arrange for each department head and other leaders to fully debrief the experience. Report findings to the city manager, mayor and other officials. Be Sure to Thank Everyone. City officials and the Chief of Police should thank all leaders, volunteers, organizations, and outside departments who contributed to the success of the event. Do this as soon as possible after the event.

"It was amazing how many of the problems were identical between all of the cities despite their differences . . ."

Roger "Bo" Quiroga
Galveston, Texas

Communities with Experience in Major Event Planning

Asbury Park and Belmar, New Jersey. For more than 25 years, Greekfest Weekend has been an unsponsored annual week-long event in which 30,000 to 70,000 members of African American and Latino fraternities and sororities from across the country come together for a celebration at the Monmouth County, New Jersey, shores. The main event attended by approximately 100,000 members starts in the Fairmont park area of Philadelphia (see description of the Philadelphia event below) as an officially sponsored event. It usually ends on Saturday night in early June, and many members want then to spend a relaxing weekend at the shore.

For the first 25 years this gathering was held in the Belmar area of New Jersey. After a concerted effort, it was moved in 1997 from Belmar to Asbury Park, where it was welcomed enthusiastically. The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the Monmouth County Human Relations Commission of New Jersey have worked proactively with the attendees and law enforcement.

Lessons Learned

Atlanta, Georgia. Black College Spring Break began in 1982 when eight college students from Washington, D.C., organized a picnic in John A. White Park, a small park in Southwest Atlanta. In 1983 the "the D.C. Metro Club," consisting of 50-60 students, held activities on the Atlanta University Campus and named the Spring Break Weekend "Freaknik." By1988 it had grown to fill Piedmont Park and downtown Atlanta streets, impacting traffic and emergency responses by police, fire and rescue personnel. It became a car cruising event drawing students from many States resulting in traffic gridlock, destruction of hotel rooms, lewd behavior, and crime. In 1993, the mayor of Atlanta, rejected the event and many hotels did not accept reservations from Black youth. The youths came nevertheless, and the city has worked hard to create a positive environment renaming it "Black College Weekend," and introducing the Sweet Auburn Festival. A local Black college has sponsored a job fair, which has drawn up to 70,000 serious youths. The city has enacted special traffic plans and patrols to address traffic congestion and "Freaknik" behavior, improving both the reception and outcome of the event.

Lessons Learned

Daytona Beach, Florida. Black College Reunion (BCR) has been held for more than 20 years. Started by students from the Bethune Cookman College in Daytona Beach, it now attracts students from colleges other than traditional Black Schools. This event also attracts non-students, who come for the three-day event, held the last week of March or the first week of April. This event attracts from 100,000 to 200,000 participants each year. What was once a Black event, is now an event which draws more diverse participation.

Lessons Learned

Galveston, Texas. The Galveston Beach Party was first celebrated in 1985 by a small number of mostly African American college students from the South East Texas region. Originally named KAPPA weekend and KAPPA beach party. The event grew as did the problems and challenges. During the 1992 event a Galveston police officer shot and killed a man. Racial tensions rose when the media and victims family charged that the officer used unnecessary lethal force. Public awareness of the event grew as did negative attitudes toward many of the partying visitors who were not even KAPPAS or college students. With major increases in law enforcement and city resources for the event, violence was reduced in 1999 with no shootings or stabbings reported among the 160,000 visitors. There was more interest shown in attending organized events. Also, the police use of non-confrontational techniques reduced the possibility of conflict with all participants.

Lessons Learned

Grand Strand, South Carolina (Atlantic, Myrtle, and North Myrtle Beach). For many years on Memorial Weekend the City of Atlantic Beach has hosted a Bikefest which attracts large numbers of motorcycle enthusiasts. Between 1994 and 1999, the event grew significantly, and 100,000 attended in 1999. Along with the small area within the boundaries of Atlantic Beach, the participants of Bikefest began using other areas of the Grand Strand, particularly North Myrtle Beach and South Myrtle Beach. This resulted in severe traffic congestion on the only highway running along the beach.

In 1992, traffic problems in the North Myrtle Beach area became so severe that law enforcement developed a plan to stage officers within Atlantic Beach in an attempt to control traffic and encroaching crowds of pedestrians. In 1997, the traffic problems and reports of unlawful conduct continued to be serious. In 1998, the cities of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach requested State law enforcement assistance.

Lessons Learned

Quincy and Gretna, Florida. The music festival began as a small party sponsored by a college Greek organization in Quincy near Tallahassee. In five years it grew into an event drawing 25,000 people to a rural farm with a large stage for music group performances. Participants have parked for miles along rural roads near the event. The event had been conducted without a traffic plan and with minimal need for law enforcement to direct traffic. Law enforcement activity had centered on security for performers and the stage, underage drinking, driving while intoxicated, and public lewdness. The event will be moving to a large site in Gretna in 2000.

Lessons Learned

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1974, a small group of African American college students and fraternity and sorority members decided to have an annual picnic in a small park in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Today it has become one of the largest college fetes in the Nation. The most recent event brought as many as 100,000 participants to Fairmount Park's Belmont Plateau for the culmination of a series of week-long events.

During the last several years, however, despite the planned events in Fairmount Park, other more spontaneous weekend celebrations drew significant numbers of young adults to cruise streets and flock to the South Street area.

While the Fairmont Park provided a large and expansive venue for the Greeks, the South Street business corridor and Center City Philadelphia was not conducive for such an influx of people and had the potential for public safety problems. The number of arrests for serious incidents increased significantly over the last few years bringing along a new phenomena called "whirling." Whirling incidents occur when a female is surrounded by a group and sexually assaulted, groped, or stripped of clothing. In most cases these incidents occur within a public area and sometimes within a few feet of the police, who, because of the large crowds, are unable to affect an arrest or prevent such an occurrence.

Planning begins in the Spring. Based upon previous years' events, police commanders are in almost daily contact with community and business leaders to discuss traffic related detours, street closures, security, and crowd control measures. Public service announcements as well as traffic service reports are broadcast in the days leading up to the weekend and on the day of the event. Police focus on ensuring access to all events and providing safety and protection to the Greeks and their guests.

More than 1,200 uniformed and plainclothes officers were deployed throughout the event sites. The heavy vehicular traffic downtown virtually shut down traffic and by 1 a.m. there were 15,000 pedestrians in a seven-block area. As a result, there were several unfortunate "whirling" incidents reported.

There have been no legal challenges or prohibitions to the Philadelphia events. Experience has shown that generally "Greeks" were not involved in criminal activity and that of those arrested most were local youths and had not attended college; about half were juveniles. In 2000 the Greeks plan to scale back and offer only private events to members.

Lessons Learned

Virginia Beach, Virginia. As early as 1980, groups of predominantly Black students gathered at Croatan Beach, in a residential area, for a traditional beach party. The event started by word of mouth by students from various universities. In 1985, the event began to take a more organized appearance and promoters of individual events became involved. Local residents expressed concern that Croatan lacked public facilities, was too confined, and was not an adequate place for the event. In 1986, problems increased because of the lack of facilities and an increase in attendance to about 8,000 people. In 1987, the event moved to the resort area and the large city-owned Pavilion was used for 7,500 people without incident. In 1988, the 7,500 person capacity of the Pavilion was reached and there was still more than 3,000 people pressing to get in. The 1988 crowd, estimated at 40,000, filled local venues to capacity and caused damage to city property. During September in 1988, the city began planning for the 1989 event, communicating with Pan Hellenic Councils and local universities and researching how other cities were handling similar events. The city created the Beachfront Events Committee, which developed plans for handling large oceanfront crowds and recommended to promoters of Greekfest that the event move to a large regional facility; but this did not occur. Police officers received additional human relations and stress management training and extra officers were assigned to the resort area. Visitors were informed of local public safety ordinances. During Labor Day weekend in 1989, as more than 100,000 people crowded the streets, traffic became gridlocked and behavior problems flared. As tensions mounted late-night rioting occurred, resulting in violence and looting. Damages were estimated at $1.9 million. The city, and especially the police department, was criticized by both participants and citizens for its handling of the situation.

The city appointed an independent Labor Day Review commission to investigate the problems and recommended a strategy for future events. Public hearings allowed the community to express concerns and share suggestions. A Labor Day Community Coordination Committee and a Labor Day Task Force Office was created to lead the planning and implementation. Members of the police department visited campuses of historically black universities and student leaders participated in a three-day planning summit. Information about "Laborfest '90" was distributed to student organizations. The National Black Police Officers Association and local clergy provided voluntary assistance to Virginia Beach Police. Crowd sizes were similar to those of 1989, but pre-planning resulted in a weekend free of major incidents.

Cooperative planning and improvements have continued since 1990. The City Council appointed a Human Rights Commission in 1991. Several other special teams and programs such as a community/visitor relations team related to the event have been created. Improvements to city property to improve the situation during Labor Day weekend have been accomplished.

Lessons Learned

Spring Break/Special Events
Conference Participants

Atlanta, Georgia - September 28-29, 1999

Community Relations Service Staff
Thomas Battles, Senior Conciliation Specialist, Miami, Florida
Daryl Borgquist, Media Affairs Officer, Washington, D.C.
Abigail Brown, Conciliation Specialist, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jonathan Chace, Associate Director, Washington, D.C.
Robert Ensley, Contract Conciliation Specialist, Macon, Georgia
Gustavo Gaynett, Field Office Director, Detroit, Michigan
Patricia Glenn, Northeast Regional Director, New York, New York
Moses Jones, Senior Conciliation Specialist, New York, New York
Efrain Martinez, Senior Conciliation Specialist, Houston, Texas
Henry Mitchum, Acting Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Richard Sambrano, Acting Southwest Regional Director, Dallas, Texas
Ernie Stallworth, Senior Conciliation Specialist, Atlanta, Georgia
Ozell Sutton, Southeast Regional Director, Atlanta, Georgia
Jesse Taylor, Midwest Regional Director, Chicago Illinois
Lawrence Turner, Senior Conciliation Specialist, Boston, Massachusetts

Asbury Park/Belmar, New Jersey Team
Lieutenant Edward Kirschenbaum, Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, Freehold, New Jersey
Sargent Louis Jordan, Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, Freehold, New Jersey
Tom Daniels, Monmouth County Chairman, Oakhurst, New Jersey
Wilbert Russell, City Manager, Asbury Park, New Jersey

Atlanta, Georgia, Team
Michael Langford, Director, Mayor's Office of Community Affairs, Atlanta, Georgia
Kevin Lewis, Chaplain, Mayor's Office of Community Affairs, Atlanta, Georgia
Myrtice Taylor, Community Analyst, Mayor's Office of Community Affairs, Atlanta, Georgia
Bonnie Ward, Office Manager, Mayor's Office of Community Affairs, Atlanta, Georgia

Columbus, Ohio Team
Ron Michalec, Chief of Police, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Rev. Aron Wheeler, Executive Assistant, Department of Public Safety, Columbus, Ohio

Daytona Beach, Florida Team
Lieutenant Michael Aucu, Miami Beach, Florida
Greg Austin, Charlotte, North Carolina
Thomas Copeland, Daytona Beach, Florida
Edward Dixon,. Florida Commission on Human Relations, Tallahassee, Florida
Greg Durden, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Larry Edwards, Chaplain, Daytona Beach Police Department, Daytona, Florida
Veronica Harrell James, Chief, Civil Rights, Civil Enforcement Section, Office of the U.S. Attorney, Miami, Florida
Curtis Lee, Civil Rights Unit, Attorney General's Office, Tampa, Florida
Dr. Claudette McFadden, Bethune Cookman College, Daytona Beach, Florida
Awen Ra, Student, Daytona Beach, Florida
Michael Rutledge, Assistant Chief, Community Affairs Unit, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Jacksonville, Florida
Cynthia Slatten, First Vice President, NAACP, Daytona Beach, Florida
Kenneth Small, Chief of Police, Daytona Beach, Florida

Galveston, Texas, Team
Recy Dunn, President, African-American Chamber of Commerce, Galveston, Texas
Steve LeBlanc, City Manager, Galveston, Texas
Roger "Bo" Quiroga, Mayor, Galveston, Texas
Kim Schoolcraft, Chief of Police, Galveston, Texas

Grand Strand, South Carolina Teams
Irene Armstrong, Atlantic Beach, South Carolina
Stephen P. Bates, Chief of Staff, South Carolina Dept. of Public Safety, Columbia, South Carolina
Steve Birnie, Chief of Staff, South Carolina Dept. of Probation, Columbia, South Carolina
Earl F. Brown, Jr., Executive Assistant for Internal Affairs, South Carolina Human Affairs Commission, Columbia, South Carolina
Beverly Clark, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Frank Eagles, Chief of Police, Atlantic Beach, South Carolina
Warren Gall, Chief of Police, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Sid Gaulden, Director of Executive Affairs, South Carolina Dept. of Public Safety, Columbia, South Carolina
Dr. Willis Ham, Commissioner, South Carolina Human Affairs Commission, Columbia, South Carolina
Major Joseph H. Hood, South Carolina Dept. of Public Safety, Columbia, South Carolina
Thomas E. Leath, City Manager, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Mervyl McMillan, Town Manager, Atlantic Beach, South Carolina
Michael Nichols, Coordinator of Special Events, South Carolina Dept of Probation, Columbia, South Carolina
David Richardson, Director, Community Development, Atlantic Beach, South Carolina
Robert Stewart, Chief, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Columbia, South Carolina
Captain Clifton Weir, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Columbia, South Carolina
Special Agent Sonny Williams, Community Relations, South Carolina Human Affairs Commission, Columbia, South Carolina
Crain Woods, Councilman, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Gretna/Quincy, Florida Team
David Ganious, Jr., Quincy, Florida
Charles Hayes, Gretna, Florida
Marlon Ivey, Tampa, Florida
Barry Moore, Quincy, Florida

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Team
Frank Pryor, Chief Inspector, Patrol Bureau, Philadelphia Police Department
Dexter Green, Chief Inspector, Special Operations Bureau, Philadelphia
Police Department
Joseph O'Connor, Lieutenant, Patrol Bureau, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Eugene Cummings, Lieutenant, Patrol Bureau, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Virginia Beach, Virginia Team

C. Oral Lambert, Jr., Chief Operating Officer, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Chief A.M. Jacocks, Interim Chief of Police, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Mary Pat Fortier, Executive Director, Virginia Beach Hotel/Motel Assn.
Colonel Cornell Fuller, Ret., Virginia Beach NAACP
Mr. Les Lilley, City Attorney, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Joshua Edwards, Ph.D., Chair, Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission
James Ricketts, Director, Convention and Visitor Development, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Ronald Hampton, National Black Police Assn., Washington, D.C.

Other Participants
Cassandra Black, President Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc., Dallas, Texas
Richard Snow, Director, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

CRS Offices

Community Relations Service
600 E Street, NW, Suite 6000
Washington, D.C. 20530
202/305-3009 FAX

CRS Regional and Field Offices

Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
408 Atlantic Avenue #220
Boston, MA 02201
617/424-5727 FAX
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
26 Federal Plaza, Suite 36-118
New York, NY 10278
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Custom House
2nd and Chestnut Streets, Room 208
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215/597-9148 FAX
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
75 Piedmont Avenue, NE, Room 900
Atlanta, GA 30303
404/331-4471 FAX
Field Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
51 S.W. First Avenue, Suite 624
Miami, FL 33130
305/536-6778 FAX
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
55 West Monroe Street, Suite 420
Chicago, IL 60603
312/353-4390 FAX
Field Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
211 West Fort Street, Suite 1404
Detroit, MI 48226
313/536-6778 FAX
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
1420 West Mockingbird Lane, Suite 250
Dallas, TX 75247
Field Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
515 Rusk Avenue
Houston, TX 77002
713/718-4862 FAX
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
1100 Main Street, Suite 1320
Kansas City, MO 64106
816/426-7441 FAX
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
1244 Speer Blvd. Suite 650
Denver, CO 80204-3584
303/844-2907 FAX
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
888 South Figueroa Street, Suite 1880
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213/894-2880 FAX
Field Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
120 Howard Street, Suite 790
San Francisco, CA 94105
415/744-6590 FAX
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
915 Second Avenue, Room 1808
Seattle, WA 98174

CRS Customer Service Standards

Our goal is to provide sensitive and effective conflict prevention and resolution services. You can expect us to meet the following standards when we work with you:

"If a non-sanctioned event is coming to your town, you have to be prepared for it."

Thomas E. Leath
City Manager
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Spring Break/Special Event Checklist

[Instructions: Using this publication you can prepare your own checklist of activities to do before, during, and after the event that will be held in your community.]

Pre-Event Activities

Activities During the Event











After-Event Activities











Additional Notes

Useful Community Relations Service Publications can be found at: www.usdoj.gov/crs