If you look at our publication - you'll see how we've been involved. How police handle demonstrations is really important. The biggest concern chiefs have is not to get drawn in and be the target of the protest. A lot of them are sympathetic to the issues they're protesting about, the economy, etc. They were very comfortable as long as it didn't impact people living in the area. They were very intent on not becoming involved. They had awful experiences becoming the object of the protest instead of the issue itself. They do have some things happen in some places that you can't expect. Sue Rice from U. Wisconsin, Madison was talking about her strategy of dealing with them on a daily basis and talking it through. Our last conference call was Nov. 4, if we were involved in tactics, we'd be having conference calls every day. It wouldn't be two and a half weeks ago. Anyone that knows us knows we don't tell people what to do. We don't want that kind of authority, nor do we want that kind of authority. We don't actively tell police departments what to do.
WITHOUT BREAKING ANYONE'S ANONYMITY, WHAT WERE THE GENERAL CONCERNS EXPRESSED IN THOSE COMMUNICATIONS? It wasn't about how we should shut this thing down, it was more like, here's the issues we're facing in our city. There was no major theme like that. Not every city has the same problem or issue or challenge. It was not anyone's intent to have a national approach to these things. There was not any agenda, it was just reports back from each city. After 45 minutes, it was ok, thanks. And if someone had a particularly interesting problem and way of handling it. This isn't a problem for everybody. Not every place is facing what Oakland faced.
WHAT WILL PERF'S FUTURE ROLE BE IN THESE DISCUSSIONS, IF ANY? We're going to always do what we think is right. We're always going to do that. Over the years, we've taken on racially biased policing, violent crime, the Gates-Crowley thing in Cambridge... It's not always pretty and it's not easy, but I think we owe it to the public to identify best practices.
This special events thing, we got a call from Sam Greenlaw in New York that wanted to share it with both the police and the demonstrators. He thinks they may well be going into next summer, there may be hundreds of thousands of kids. I don't know where that would go, but it could be helpful. We are pulled in to help when things happen, and we'll keep doing that when it's the right thing.
We don't produce any documents that people can't have. Sometimes something gets misinterpreted&ldots;
HOW DOES YOUR STAFF FEEL ABOUT ITS PROGRESSIVE MANDATE AND HISTORY BEING CORRUPTED BY ASSOCIATION WITH THE VIOLENCE OF RECENT WEEKS? That wasn't part of our cause, our cause was just information-sharing, period. It's like setting up a listserv or a website. That's all it was, period.