Effective Law Enforcement Communication

July 12, 2019 posted by

via 4355 steele street 4355 field support a loud music coming from skate park back to the skate park again it's kids the skate park every time I come hey turn down that music you what's in the bottle now your business give me the bottle no we're not doing anything wrong hey man this is the public park I don't give me that BS and you freaked out some ID buzz off my dog ate it get out of my face x11 on to need some backup hey Vince you're superstar one of those kids at the skate park yesterday had a cell phone cam now you're all over the Internet you've got to be kidding me yeah I check it out here comes boom way to level that punk Vince no I he just tripped okay yeah uh-huh Heinz in my office yes sir hmm that's not we received a complaint from one of the kids parents about the way you handle things yesterday the threatening to sue of course and they're calling for your head the chief wants to see you in his office later he's been taking calls all morning from the city manager council and the media this was just some punk kids giving me grief I didn't think it was a big deal this is a big deal Vince this isn't the first complaint that we've received about you needless to say the chief is not happy about it well we're investigating this incident I'm assigning you to ride with Jeff casa for a while you've got to be kidding me or send me back for training you need to show the chief that you are serious about changing your methods ride with casa maybe he can get you back on track whatever you say sergeant Vince I'll meet you in the training room in 10 minutes a lot let my plan for the next couple days all right Jeff and they get a hold of my wife and let her know what's going on hi I'm Jeff casa I've been a police officer for 15 years and currently serve as our departments training officer during my time on the force I've been involved in hundreds if not thousands of contacts with the public and most have taken place without any problems but every once in a while and officers communication skills are not as good as they should be and a routine contact escalates into a much bigger issue that appears to be what happened in ences incident yesterday it seems he may have created his own problems because of poor communication the purpose of this video is to review some basic communication skills needed for everyday contacts with the general public in this program will discuss how positive and effective communication skills can avoid problems and deliver measurable benefits to our officers our department and the community the importance of managing personal biases and providing good customer service how to implement fundamental communication techniques that will reduce stress and maintain control during routine contacts and the need to use active listening skills to understand citizen concerns solve problems and effectively serve the public sir-sir presents effective law enforcement communication you I still don't understand why I'm taking so much heat for this this is not just about taking heat Vince poor communication skills can have a number of negative consequences your personal safety could have been jeopardized by letting the situation get out of control our department is receiving citizen complaints and negative press coverage you may end up facing a personal liability lawsuit and your law enforcement career may be affected I hope you understand you could have avoided all of this with just a better delivery style so it's all about the words I used words are important yes but even more important that's about your attitude and your tone let me show you what I'm talking about have a seat Vince have you seen the video yet no I haven't had the displeasure I had no idea that thing was gonna end up on the Internet these days we need to approach every situation like we're being recorded whether or not we think someone's videotaping us we need to communicate an effective manner let's take a look hey turn that music down yeah what's in the bottle in your business give me the ball oh we're not doing anything wrong hey man this is the public park don't give me that BS now you break out some ID buzz off my dog ate it get out of my face whoa what I also need some backup from the very beginning it looks like he came in with a bad attitude and things only went downhill from there you never introduced yourself the tone of your voice was very confrontational they looked like a bunch of troublemakers and they were playing that music too loud besides I was taught at the academy to take control the scene essentially that's correct but you were trained to deal with the situation appropriately not create new problems there's an art taking control effectively and professionally well they didn't show me any respect respects a two-way street you didn't show them any respect either you started the contact disrespectfully things escalated you lost control of the situation I've dealt with kids like this before and I wasn't up for taking any BS from a bunch of skaters you see how your personal bias affects your behavior if we let our emotions affect our performance we're setting ourselves up for failure that's why if we begin each contact in a positive civil manner they'll usually go a lot better than yours did yesterday after all citizens our customers and whenever possible we need to provide them with good customer service so I let my personal bias affect my attitude toward the skaters alright how would you have handled it well have been in similar situations over the years and I've learned some things that have helped me become a better communicator let's begin with some fundamental communication techniques when you initiate a routine contact introduce yourself and if appropriate ask the other person's name putting your name with your uniform helps build rapport as does using the other person's name use a friendly positive tone of voice if you start the contact with the negative tone don't be surprised if you receive a similar negative reaction in return explain the reason for your contact citizens will be more cooperative if they know why you're there know what your intended goal or desired outcome is for the situation and keep that goal in mind as the encounter proceeds approach the situation with an open mind don't assume that because somebody dresses or looks a certain way that they have violated the law and don't react to the contempt of cop attitude and allow your emotions to get the better of you when you react emotionally you surrender control of the situation that's all well and good but we can't be doing all that customer service stuff in a hostile situation true but the vast majority of contacts are not hostile when they are we use our tactical training to handle those situations yesterday the park incident it escalated due to a communication breakdown that you started you also jeopardize everyone's safety by becoming confrontational without adequate backup at the scene that these skaters really were bad guys you could have been seriously injured or worse yeah you're probably right as we ride together the next few days we'll talk more about the fundamental communication techniques and practice applying them to different situations Heinz Chiefs ready for you good luck Vince let me get the car fortunately Vince didn't lose his job but he did receive a strong and clear warning hopefully this will be a wake-up call for him the department has invested a lot of time and resources and training Vince and I'd hate to see him jeopardize his career over something like this but Vince is a sharp guy and I think he's learned his lesson we'll see how it goes over the next few days do you believe that right in front of let's get him ah hello sir I'm officer casa with the City Police Department good for you sir the reason I stopped you is you ran the stop sign back there jeez go fight some real crime I'm in a hurry your waste of my time and taxpayers dollars since you find something better to do I'm a law-abiding citizen and I need to get to work so I can pay your salary and who's that idiot over there he looks familiar hey you're that cop from the internet sir I realize you're in a hurry but we had a fatality in that intersection last month so we're just here trying to keep everyone safe so if you would please your license registration and proof of insurance will get you on your way shortly make it snappy thanks sir thank you very much mr. Blaney and please drive safely thank you have a good day sir oh that guy was ridiculous he called me an idiot I should have gotten in his face it wasn't necessary Vince through my tone of voice I was able to control the encounter and not let him drag us into anything would regret later I introduced myself explaining the reason for the stop stayed polite maintain control and avoided any escalation but he was mouthing off so what if you just let him vent they'll usually settle down if I'd allowed my ego to dictate my actions and gotten into a shouting match with him I would have just added fuel to his fire by being civil remaining calm letting him rant and then informing him about the fatal accident it helped reduce his frustration so we have to listen to everyone's BS yeah times we do he wasn't threatening he was just a loudmouth once you get over letting your emotions dictate your actions you can use your active listening skills to control the situation active listening skills what do you mean active listening skills help you fully understand what the other person is meaning to say their words alone may not accurately illustrate their intentions or their needs the key points of active listening include face the person to show attentiveness while still maintaining a bladed stance it will help you read their facial expressions and body language maintain eye contact to the degree that is appropriate you want to show them you're listening while not making them uncomfortable focus on what they're saying and don't be afraid to ask for clarification also be prepared to respond if they ask why let them finish what they have to say don't assume you know what their concerns maybe this will make it easier for you to analyze the situation and deal with the person appropriately and recognize and deal with the person's emotions acknowledging their emotions can help people feel like they're being heard and improved communication sounds like a lot to remember it might take a while to work these principles into your everyday dialogue but if you set a goal to practice the fundamental communication techniques and active listening skills we talked about it'll become more natural routine contacts would go a lot easier and you'll be able to spend a lot less time in the boss's office I can live with that there are also other training programs available the deal with specialized communication methods used during hostile situations or when confronting an emotionally disturbed individual I completed a crisis intervention training program last year you might want to look into that program as well but for the majority of routine citizen contacts the verbal controls we talked about will be effective what's up to you good afternoon sir oh I'm officer Hines and from your name Laura while we were on patrol together Vince and I made a number of contexts Vince took the lead on some of these and he began to practice the fundamental communication techniques and active listening skills now mr. Smith I understand that you don't like mr. Anderson parking in front of your house but it is a public street now mr. Anderson as a courtesy to mr. Smith would you consider parking in your own driveway I guess I could yes great thank you so much thank you thank you by the end of our time riding together I was feeling pretty confident that Vince had turned the corner he began to realize how a friendly delivery style positive tone and improved attitude resulted in more efficient contacts with fewer complaints and improved outcomes I ended my assignment with Vince and wished him well David to copy disturbing the peace via 39 40 garfield street 39-40 garfield her for no cloud coming from the house called in by a neighbor hey Vince hey Jeff let me see if I can handle this one huh sure thing okay well oh well what do we have here heads huh mr. Rambo in his side k quick get your camera car good afternoon sir i'm officer hines this is officer casa or with the city police department really are so we got you fired you'll have to make it another video no sir we're here because we received some complaints from your neighbors about loud music oh those grumpy old people next door they've been on our case since we moved in you think we're loud you should hear their dog he barks day and night gigs up our yard why don't you go harass them about their mud I understand sir let me write down the number for animal control for you and I'll actually call them in the morning and have them contact you about the dog but in the meantime if you could please turn down the music I'd really appreciate it fine thank you guys have a good day good job Vince I like the way you handled the call you started off on the right foot you maintained your cool and get kept control of the situation thanks Jeff I just had to keep telling myself to stay calm but I think the outcome was better than before I don't think I lost him anything to put on the internet this time I don't think so good job thank you very much well it looks like Vince is getting it figured out he's learned the fundamental communication techniques to keep routine contacts from getting out of control and if he keeps practicing his active listening skills I think he's got a bright future with the Department the most common contact we have is dealing with ordinary citizens in nonviolent situations by using effective communication skills we can keep these encounters positive and professional prevent them from escalating into confrontations and make our jobs easier and safer for everyone effective communication is as much of a safety tool as any of the tools who were on our belt let's review some of the key items we've discussed in this program recognize the benefits of using good communication skills which include protecting your personal safety and the safety of fellow officers by reducing hospital contacts minimizing citizen complaints and bad publicity and promoting a positive public image for the police department preventing lawsuits which may cost the city considerable money as well as protecting yourself from personal liability claims and enhancing your career opportunities understand the importance of managing personal biases if we let our emotions affect our performance we're setting ourselves up for failure begin each contact in a positive civil manner citizens our customers and we need to provide them good customer service the way we conduct ourselves during the initial contact is critical that's why it's important to remember the fundamental communication techniques introduce yourself and ask the other person's name use a friendly positive tone of voice explain the reason for your contact know your intended goal or desired outcome approach the situation with an open mind and keep your emotions under control and continue to practice your active listening skills these include face the person to show attentiveness maintain eye contact as appropriate focus on what they're saying and ask for clarification if needed let them finish what they have to say and recognize and deal with the person's emotions your job is a law-enforcement professional will be much easier and safer if you practice positive and effective communication skills think of the citizens in our community as our customers and show them the respect they deserve so let's all work smart stay safe bye you

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