Laurens Co. S.O.R.T. deputy discusses crowd control - FOX Carolina 21

Laurens Co. S.O.R.T. deputy discusses crowd control

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Deputy Walter Summers is assistant commander of S.O.R.T. with the Laurens Co. Sheriff's Office. (FOX Carolina/ Sept. 22, 2016) Deputy Walter Summers is assistant commander of S.O.R.T. with the Laurens Co. Sheriff's Office. (FOX Carolina/ Sept. 22, 2016)
Members of S.O.R.T. with the Laurens Co. Sheriff's Office. (Courtesy: Laurens County Sheriff's Office) Members of S.O.R.T. with the Laurens Co. Sheriff's Office. (Courtesy: Laurens County Sheriff's Office)
LAURENS, SC (FOX Carolina) -

When violent protests erupt special teams are often called in to control crowds.

"We do the job because we like helping people in doing what we do," Deputy Walter Summers said.

He's a deputy with the Laurens County Sheriff's Office and he's also a school resource officer at Laurens High School.

"That was one of the reasons I became an SRO - from dealing with people on the street and wanting to help them out at an early age," he said.

Summers also suits up as assistant commander with S.O.R.T. which stands for the Special Operations Response Team.

"We have what are called tact vests," Summers said.

Much like tactical units in Charlotte, he and his team are trained in crowd control and other missions.

"Crowd shields are clear and you can see through them. They're big, they're wide and they're bulky, just to try and keep people back. You can still see what's going on and you can hold it up," he said.

Summers says training is intense. He says a sheriff or a commander gives signals when to change formations which depends on the temperament of a crowd.

"With certain formations that we get in, we can push through the crowd a little bit easier," he said.

He's watched intense moments play out in Charlotte.

"They can sit there and holler and scream all they want as long as they're not breaking the law," Summers said. "When they get violent and hit us or a civilian or put somebody ease's life in danger is when we're going to have to intervene."

Summers says it's an oath he took to serve and protect.

According to the South Carolina Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, protesters have a right to voice their concerns in public forums on sidewalks and parks.

If a protest blocks traffic or closes streets, however, some cities and counties may require a permit.

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