Treat people with respect.
Employ active listening skills.
These important messages are communicated to officers throughout training as critical skills for law enforcement professionals. These skills will help officers remain professional at all times, establish rapport with victims, witnessed and suspects. These skills will help get confessions. These skills are as important as physical skills for law enforcement professionals. These skills will help officers be safer and more effective in the field.
And yet, in the same training programs, trainers refer to subjects as dirt bags, scum bags, assholes, degenerates, pieces of crap, low life, and other disrespectful, derogatory and demeaning terms.
This is extremely dangerous for a number of reason. We will look at two today:
- Demeaning and derogatory terms send the subconscious message that these people do not train and are ill prepared to deal with the real professionals. While that may be true of some of the subjects officers will deal with, others spend countless hours training and preparing for that inevitable confrontation with police and corrections officers. Some of these individuals are highly skilled in the areas of fighting, gunfighting, weapons handling, intelligence gathering, surveillance and counter surveillance. Officers need to train and prepare to face well trained opponents rather than assuming they will face someone who is unprepared.
- It is hard to treat an asshole with respect. It is hard to be empathic with a low life dirtbag. It is hard to use active listening skills with a degenerate scumbag. It is hard to conceal the subconscious messages of contempt, distain and disrespect communicated by your facial expressions and body language. Sooner or later those words and phrases are going to come out of the officers mouth when dealing with the subject, or when the officer is under stress testifying on the stand.
If you are training law enforcement officers to be professionals, then be professional in your training and avoid giving mixed messages.