March 20, 2018

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Improve Your Command Presence

Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement, Corrections

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s tip is for law enforcement and custody personnel and it deals with the verbal commands we use in stressful situations.  

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With the increased use of video we hear and see ourselves more. One benefit is that we have been able to hear how our verbal commands actually sound.  

With our adrenaline flowing many of us have a natural tendency to talk faster. This is sometimes the case when we are ordering suspect to do something. It is important to give clear, concise commands. When we are yelling and stringing many commands together, this can confuse the person we are talking to. The person we are dealing with might be intoxicated, or in crisis, and may be under the same increased stress that we are.  

I am sure you have heard a rookie officer screaming into the radio during a foot chase. Was it easy to understand what he was saying? Now try to imagine that you are on the receiving end of verbal instructions that sounded something like that. Worse yet, imagine trying to decipher commands from more than one person who was talking like that. When a suspect is not obeying it could be that they don’t understand. “Freeze get your hands up don’t move stop get down.”  

When giving commands under high-stress situations, keep it simple. Be clear about what you want to be done or not done. Pause between commands. If possible, you can even designate an officer to be responsible for verbal commands in advance.    

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

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