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A Generalized Model of Crowd Behavior for Law Enforcement Training Applications, 09-9066

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Principal Investigators
Denise C. Varner
John D. Micheletti

Inclusive Dates: 01/01/98 - Current

Background - For the last few years, SwRI has modeled the effects of nonlethal weapons and munitions and has developed a computer-based training system for the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. The training system has evoked interest from the law enforcement community in adapting the same technology to meet their requirements. In cooperation with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, SwRI has modeled aspects of crowd behavior suitable for civil disturbance training.

Approach - The team reviewed the technical literature on crowd and mob behavior from military, civilian law enforcement, sociological, and historical sources and conducted structured interviews with experts in those areas. From these data, SwRI developed a method of profiling psychological and behavioral attributes of crowds and a second set of models that mimic activities and techniques useful for controlling crowds.

Accomplishments - The SwRI-developed models have been incorporated into a prototype computer-based simulation program called the Commander's Interactive Training System, which is designed to train platoon commanders in civil disorder management and tactics. Using a computer, an instructor can create initial customized crowd behavior, actions, and movement within a three-dimensional-model town. Trainees, in turn, allocate their personnel and resources prior to the start of an exercise. While the exercise is running, the computer controls the behavior, activity, and movement of the crowds based on trainee actions. Trainees can issue verbal commands, instructions, and, when necessary, fire on the crowds with simulated lethal or less-than-lethal munitions. All activity during a training exercise is recorded and can be replayed at a later time for review and assessment purposes.

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SwRI-developed program simulates crowd behavior in response to trainee actions.

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