Columbus Police Learning New Tactics After OSU Melee

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Police in Ohio’s capital city say they’re trying a new approach to quell potential riots.

The Columbus Dispatch reports nearly 2,000 Columbus police officers have been trained in crowd-control techniques at a city police academy.

Lt. Steve Wilkinson, an advanced-training instructor at the academy, says police no longer have to use large, field-force contingents. Officers in January dispersed crowds celebrating Ohio State University’s national championship victory in football. Police used tear gas and pepper spray on the crowd and several dozen fires were set.

Officers are now being trained to break into small groups that are more effective in tight spaces and how to work without batons and shields. Police say research indicates speed is vital because crowds can shift quickly from celebrating to destroying things.