Police Operations in Temporary Communities: The Super Bowl, Woodstock and Other Special Events

Daniel W. Flynn, Savannah Police Department
Geoffrey Alpert, University of South Carolina

Traditional notions of community involve groups of neighbors in residential and busines/residential settings. However, as we examine the fundamental components and composition of communities, we find that many cohesive areas such as airports, tourist destinations, hospital complexes, and college campuses fall within the evolving concept of community. The evolving view of community does not requrie that an area be primarily residential or business, or even a permanent social group. Thus, areas in which people share a common geography, character or identity, and common concerns, would qualify as a community for the purposes of policing and political problem solving. Even a temporary or created environment in which a group of stakeholders share geographical area or common concerns may constitute a community. In this regard, major sporting events, musical performances, festivals, and multi-day ceremonies, demonwtrations, and events that are anticipated to attract tens of thousands of people easily qualify as communities for the purpose of security and control. Drawing from the experiences of Superbowl XXIII and Woodstock 99, the presenters will examine the dynamics of temporary communities, the implications of policing temporary communities verus traditional communities, and contrast community policing and traditional policing in the context of communities.

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Updated 05/20/2006