In law enforcement, communication skills are essential in the day-to-day. Law enforcement officials need to communicate with different audiences – their team, their supervisors, legal teams, and citizens.
So, understanding the best ways to communicate in law enforcement is essential. In this post, we’ll discuss why communication is so vital for police officers and offer some ideas for improving it.
When Does Law Enforcement Communicate?
So what does communication look like in a police department?
The answer can vary from one day to the next. In general, law enforcement officers may have to utilize their speaking skills in several situations.
During investigations, it’s crucial to minimize and manage the amount of interference and personnel involved. As a result, law enforcement may have to communicate with people within the area to step back and away from the scene or to move along so that they don’t interfere during the investigation. It’s not an easy task, especially when emotions are high.
That’s why it’s essential for law enforcement to have an existing relationship with the local community. Citizens are more likely to cooperate with a trusted presence than personnel they are not familiar with seeing.
Speaking to local citizens
This reason is especially applicable when it comes to community policing. It’s helpful for police officers who are assigned to cover a designated area to build a rapport with the community they’re policing. Casually conversing with local citizens lets officers learn more about them and the location and vice versa.
As a result, officers can give citizens peace of mind and assurance that their number one job is to protect and serve the community. Trust is gained on both sides.
Speaking at press conferences
There are many times when an ongoing incident will be necessary for the public to know. In this case, the police department may host a press conference or briefing to relay the details of what’s currently happening.
- Who are the persons of interest?
- Who is affected by the event?
- Where is it occurring?
- What can citizens do to protect themselves?
- What can citizens do to protect their community?
Having exceptional public speaking skills can help law enforcement stay calm in the face of questions and present the confidence that the public needs to move forward.
Collaborating with other officers
Police officers are a team working together to ensure peace. One person cannot possibly do all the work necessary as a police officer. They can’t be on the phone answering emergency calls, patrolling the streets, or handling paperwork all at once.
Officers need to work with each other to convey relevant and time-sensitive information. A communication plan keeps everyone on track and ensures nothing slips through the cracks.
Tips for Improving Police Communications
So, now that we have covered why police communication is so essential, here are some tips that police officers can implement in any situation – whether they are talking to citizens, colleagues, or the public.
Being clear applies to both tone and content. The person being spoken to needs to understand exactly what is being communicated, especially for time-sensitive matters. Often, situations may require urgent action, and officers may need to ask local people to follow directions. When doing so, officers should be trained to be straightforward with their requests so they’re easy to follow.
Give correct and accurate information
In addition to being direct, officers equally want to be accurate. In a time where misinformation can quickly spread, officers and chiefs must be sure to relay correct updates and details, especially when speaking to the public. The primary reason is so the public and department are adequately informed of an incident. It’s also essential to avoid any false claims or information from spreading.
It can help officers to write their statements down before doing a press conference or publishing a message publicly on social media or otherwise. In some cases, it can be helpful to have another officer or even a legal professional review the message before it goes live.
This one should be given in all aspects of life. Law enforcement officers need to come across as respectful when they communicate with the public, even when providing clear orders or directions.
Law enforcement is more likely to get respect when they give it. Plus, by demonstrating respect with every interaction, police officers serve as a model for the community they serve. The more people see officers respecting each other and their communities, the more the locals will respect the police department. (Hopefully).
This goes for communicating with colleagues as well. Sometimes, senior officers may appear disrespectful when speaking to officers who are of a lower rank. It’s important to remember that not everyone has the same experience level. Being courteous and offering information with respect will go a long way toward building trust within the law enforcement team.
Social networking apps
It would be silly not to utilize technology in law enforcement. Social networking apps are the best and fastest way to communicate with the public and team members. Major platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are good sites to post department updates and news.
When it comes to internal communications, there are many networking services available. But one that’s proven to be effective is the UCP Police App. Police departments can quickly get in touch with every officer in the system to promptly relay important information. They can also send messages to the public and speak with citizens as concerns and questions arise. The UCP Police App is the best way to share vital information with the community.
All these tips are sure to help law enforcement departments nationwide improve their communication skills. But it also helps to have the right tools to convey your message clearly and effectively.
At StackBench, we make it our mission to provide police departments and sheriffs with the best communication software available. The UCP Police app for Police Departments is a new way for citizens to help officers prevent and solve crimes. This Communication app for police allows the community to submit tips and information about ongoing crimes. Also, the sheriff or police departments can broadcast critical information to citizens to create safer neighborhoods and communities. Internally, sheriffs and police departments can communicate through a secure platform.
To learn more about StackBench’s services, visit our website.