Emotional Intelligence in De-Escalation

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Emotional Intelligence in De-Escalation


Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s tip is for my friends in law enforcement and it’s about keeping your emotions in check.

We can not effectively de-escalate a situation if we can not de-escalate ourselves.

Here’s a thought for you: we can not effectively de-escalate a situation if we can not de-escalate ourselves. If you’ve been in this business long enough, you’ve probably worked with that one cop who wears their emotions on their sleeve. You know who I’m talking about. Everybody knows that officer who shows up at a scene and makes matters worse.

Or maybe you’ve lost your cool once or twice with members of the public. Let’s face it – we’re still human and humans have emotions. Keeping our emotions in check while on duty can be challenging, but it is important we do so.

We’re talking about heightened emotional responses such as anger or gross over-reaction. Bad things can happen when an officer loses his or her temperature and over-reacts to a situation. Emotional responses are not objective or rational responses. We’ve seen it, we’ve heard it, all of us. Some officer on video screaming and berating a sarcastic violator during a traffic stop. An officer losing his or her temper after an arrestee makes an idle threat. An officer over-reacting when his or her authority is challenged. That’s if things otherwise don’t go horribly wrong or they escalate into something even worse.

Emotionally charged reactions can embarrass or undermine the agency and its members. It impacts how the public views our law enforcement profession. Please be self-aware. Learn to recognize your own emotional triggers. Don’t take insults personally. People can only get under your skin if you let them. Have a professional strategy for dealing with uncooperative people and stressful situations.

That’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham, signing off.

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