Police officers are looked up to as community role models, tasked with keeping the people around them safe. In that respect, they are expected to be able to apply their professional skills and communication abilities to resolve a wide range of situations that involve heightened emotions or confrontation.
These kinds of incidents can include anything from calming and comforting an upset individual, to defusing a public confrontation. Here are some of the most effective approaches to take in a crisis situation.
De-escalation Begins With Individual Mental Preparation
A police officer can only be effective in a crisis scenario by being firmly in control of his or herself. Once you go on duty, any kind of event can occur and need to be responded to, and it’s important to prepare yourself before entering a potential de-escalation situation.
This includes taking stock of your own mood and ascertaining if any mental readjustment should take place beforehand. By retaining control over your emotions, you will be able to enter into a situation with a far more productive and clear frame of mind.
Walking into these scenarios with a pre-judged idea of what has definitely happened or what it consists of is also counter-productive. Instead, effective professionals keep an open mind and firmly establish the facts of the situation.
Respect as the Key to Effective Communication in a Crisis
Graduates of law and security courses will find that adopting certain approaches can be very productive when it comes to de-escalating crisis situations. Officers should ensure that their interactions with the public do not give the impression that they are overreaching the power and authority of their position.
Communicating at an appropriate volume and using courteous titles while retaining eye contact and adopting attentive body language will contribute towards a respectful attitude that helps foster conflict resolution. In a scenario where you must attain the attention of preoccupied individuals, utilizing a loud greeting gesture and instantly following up by speaking in a calming and pleasant manner can be a way to assert control over the situation in a non-confrontational manner.
Police officers can also take physical steps to de-escalate crises where safe and appropriate. For example, physically separating two conflicting parties can be a fruitful way of reducing the chances of escalation and conflict.
Training at Police Foundations College Will Help You Recognize Your Limits
Graduates of law and security college will know that an awareness of what can realistically be achieved should always be in an officer’s mind during a crisis situation. Situational awareness is a vital part of the de-escalation process, and an officer should be continually assessing how the crisis develops, staying on the alert and not allowing complacency to take over.
It’s by misreading the difficulty of a situation, or tackling a problem with no clear idea of a positive outcome in mind, that an effort at de-escalation can ultimately prove to be unproductive. Nonetheless, with increased training and experience, the ability to read crisis situations and take the best course of action to keep the peace will quickly become more natural.