We’ll start with the short answer: communication is absolutely essential for police officers.

The art of communication is a skill required by any job or industry. However, it’s particularly critical for law enforcement. 

In a police department, there are many moving parts. Officers are simultaneously out on the field and in the office. The dispersion of a police force makes it challenging to manage communications, especially when there’s important information to relay.

On top of that, word moves fast, and new developments occur in a matter of seconds. So, every officer must have all the details when dealing with a particular incident. 

This is why it’s so important to streamline communication in a police department. The lack of a communication system can cause confusion and misinformation, which could slow down or hinder an investigation.

Why is Communication Important?

Communication is key to a successful police department for several reasons. 

First, it leads to better teamwork. Leaders should talk to officers to relay policies and provide guidance about their roles and expectations. Proper communication can also resolve internal conflicts before they become major issues. 

When everyone in the police force knows their duties and is on the same wavelength, they will be more effective at their jobs, whether in the office or out in the field. 

Second, communication helps keep officers readily informed and updated about new developments as they happen. Missing out on critical information can cause significant problems. 

Finally, effective communication keeps officers safe. Officers need to know precisely what they are walking into before they arrive on a scene so they can take an approach that keeps them safe and protects any involved civilians.

5 Tips to Improve Communication between Police Officers

So how can police officers improve communication with each other? 

These five methods can help your squad become better communicators whether they are talking one-on-one or speaking to the department as a whole.

Apply The “80-20” principle

The 80-20 principle is a common sales technique, but it can apply to police officers as well. The idea is that officers should divide 80 percent of their time listening and 20 percent talking. So when speaking with another officer or colleague, take the approach of “listening first, respond later.” 

Humans are hard-wired to talk first and listen second. Unfortunately, this seems to be more prevalent during times of conflict. Two people in disagreement about something will both try to speak first instead of listening.

The problem, then, is that both parties are more focused on what they have to say instead of trying to hear the other side. Officers can potentially avoid many conflicts by taking the initiative to listen first and talk second. They can get to the root of the problem instead of wasting time talking over the other person, which can lead to a peaceful resolution.

Body language

While you’re listening, body language lets you respond to your peer without saying a word. Simple gestures such as nodding, shaking your head, leaning in, and keeping eye contact are straightforward methods of proving that you’re genuinely paying attention to the words the other person is speaking.

Avoiding eye contact, folding your arms, leaning back, or otherwise appearing disinterested in the conversation all convey to the other person that you are not listening. Trying to multitask can also signal that you don’t really care about what the other person has to say.

It’s crucial that you show attentiveness to the other person’s concerns or complaints to avoid any contempt. Remember that what you don’t say speaks as loud as what you do say. So be mindful of your body language when conversing with another officer.

Use technology

Technology continues to evolve and develop rapidly, becoming increasingly essential in our everyday lives. Most people already spend time on their phones to connect with friends and colleagues. So, because police officers are already accustomed to using technology to communicate in their personal lives, it only makes sense that they should utilize digital tools to communicate in their professional space. 

For example, police departments can use SMS text messages to relay critical, time-sensitive information. For added security, it’s better to use a specially made communication apps for police, like the UCP Police app. This application allows police officers to communicate with each other securely and quickly, eliminating the need to place phone calls or send emails that may not be read in time.

Make documents and policies readily available

Every police officer should have quick access to important documents, policies, and updates. That way, your police officers can review the new changes and implement them in their job. 

In addition, having a single source of truth for updated policies saves people time from asking what the new procedures are as they have a document that thoroughly explains all they need to know. This can help with accountability and ensure that everyone is working off the same information. So, the next time there’s a recent policy change, let your department know what they are and where they can learn more about it. 

Create a streamlined communication system

When there is a developing incident and you need all your officers to be updated, it’s convenient to have a robust communication system in place. 

Your department may benefit from employing multiple communication channels such as two-way radios, pagers, and mobile apps. Establishing an information system may differ for each department, but they all do the same thing: relay updates to officers quickly.

Conclusion

Strong communication skills and systems lead to the successful handling of police situations. Every officer is on the same page and has all the necessary information to carry out their duties. 

Plus, the skills can be helpful when communicating with citizens, which is equally critical. So make it a goal for your officers to learn proper communication skills and utilize tools and channels to streamline communication. 

Police App for Sheriff’s Office in USA

UCP Police App for Police Departments from StackBench makes it easy for the police to communicate with its citizens using an easy-to-use Police app for iPhone & Android.

The UCP Police app for phones is designed to improve communication among police officers. Contact us to learn more about how it can benefit your department.