1. If there's any chance that there might be violence, it's best to have your officers put on all the military gear they've got, including their body armor and camouflage outfits, because that's totally badass. Being decked out like that won't at all affect the way they think about their primary mission (to protect and serve the people of the community), and when protesters see it, they'll know that the officers are trained professionals who take their jobs seriously.
2. Park your armored personnel carriers in the middle of the street. That sight will let everyone know that you mean business, and won't in any way contribute to an atmosphere of tension.
3. When a protester approaches you with his hands up, it's best to point your rifle in his face. Round here, we call it the "Ferguson howdyado." It's a friendly way of saying, "I respect your First Amendment rights, but I'm also thinking about killing you."
4. Don't forget to position snipers with their guns trained on the crowd. That gives protesters a gentle reminder that remaining quiet and polite is the best way to avoid getting a high-velocity bullet through your skull, which, let's face it, nobody really wants.
5. Keep the lights flashing on as many squad cars as possible. Those blinding, blinking lights just have a way of calming people down.
6. Going out amongst the protesters to talk and listen to them makes you vulnerable! Instead, have your officers line up in an impenetrable phalanx spread out across the street. It'll remind people of Braveheart and all those cool battle scenes, and before you know it, protesters will put down their signs and start happily reciting lines from the film in hilariously bad Scottish accents.
7. If there's a bad night, declare a curfew. (Thanks to Governor Nixon for this tip.) Everyone will abide by it, and will in no way feel like you're trying to make them prisoners in their homes. If it doesn't work out, you can just cancel it a couple of days later, and you won't look foolish at all.
8. If there's any chance you're going to be firing any tear gas, have your officers put on their gas masks well before, and keep them on. You don't want people to see them as individual human beings, but rather as insectoid embodiments of state power.
9. Speaking of tear gas, the best way to get people to move away from an area is by inflicting pain on them. Gas works, as do rubber bullets and the LRAD sound cannon, which uses ear-splitting noise to produce discomfort, pain, and even permanent hearing loss (and which no small town should be without). Don't worry — by the next day, people who got hit with these methods will forget all about it, and bear no resentment toward the police.
10. If any journalists get in your way or decline to obey your instructions, just go ahead and arrest them. After all, it's not like anyone's going to hear about it.