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7 Things Cops Should Never Say To Anyone

7 Things Cops Should Never Say To Anyone

By Dr. George Thompson

3. “BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE RULES” (or “THAT’S THE LAW!”)

If ever there was a phrase that irritates people and makes you look weak, this is it!

If you are enforcing rules/laws that exist for good reason, don’t be afraid to explain that! Your audience may not agree with or like it, but at least they have been honored with an explanation. Note, a true sign of REspect is to tell people why, and telling people why generates voluntary compliance. Indeed, we know that at least 70% of resistant or difficult people will do what you want them to do if you will just tell them why!

When you tell people why, you establish a ground to stand on, and one for them as well! Your declaration of why defines the limits of the issue at hand, defines your real authority, but also gives the other good reason for complying, not just because you said so! Tactically, telling people why gets your ego out of it and put in its place a solid, professional reason for action.

Even at home, if all you can do is repeat, “those are the rules,” you sound and look weak because you apparently cannot support your order/request with logic or good reason. Indeed, if you can put rules or policies into context and explain how the rules or policies are good for everyone, you not only help people understand, you help them save face. Hence, you are much more likely to generate voluntary compliance, which is your goal!

2. “WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?”

This snotty, useless phrase turns the problem back on the person needing assistance. It signals this is a “you-versus-me” battle rather than an “us” discussion. The typical reaction is, “It’s not my problem. You’re the problem!”

The problem with the word problem is that it makes people feel deficient or even helpless. It can even transport people back to grade school where they felt misunderstood and underrated. Nobody likes to admit h/she has a problem. That’s a weakness! When asked, “what’s your problem?” the other already feels a failure. So the immediate natural reaction is, “I don’t have one, you do!” which is a reaction that now hides a real need for help.

Substitute tactical phrases designed to soften and open someone up, like “What’s the matter?”, “How can I help?”, or “I can see you’re upset, let me suggest . . . .”

Remember, as an officer of peace, it is your business to find ways to gather good intel and to help those in need, not to pass judgments.

1. “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO ABOUT IT?”

A great cop-out (no pun…)! This pseudo-question, always accompanied by sarcasm, is clearly an evasion of responsibility and a clear sign of a lack of creativity! The phrase really reveals the speaker’s exasperation and lack of knowledge. Often heard from untrained sales clerks and young officers tasked with figuring out how to help someone when the rules are not clear.

When you say, “What do you want me to do about it?” you can count on two problems: the one you started with and the one you just created by appearing to duck responsibility.

Instead, tactically offer to help sort out the problem and work toward a solution. If it truly is not in your area of responsibility, point the subject to the right department or persons that might be able to solve the problem.

If you are unable or unqualified to assist and you haven’t a clue as to how to help the person, apologize. Such an apology almost always gains you an ally, one you may need at same later date. Beat cops need to remember it is important to “develop a pair of eyes” (contacts) every time they interact with the public. Had the officer said to the complainant, for example, “I’m sorry, I really do not know what to recommend, but I wish I did, I’d like to help you,” and coupled that statement with a concerned tone of voice and a face of concern, he would have gone a long way toward making that person more malleable and compliant for the police later down the road.

Remember, insult strengthens resistance and shuts the eyes. Civility weakens resistance and opens the eyes!

It’s tactical to be nice!

Dr. George J. Thompson is the President and Founder of the Verbal Judo Institute, a tactical training and management firm now based in Auburn, NY. For full details on Dr. Thompson’s work and training, please visit the Verbal Judo Web Site.


+134
  • Suit_max50

    cmm07r

    over 2 years ago

    1032 Comments

    Ok, so we can't say "It's the law" (#3); but can we say "Because, I am the law!"

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    policebodyarmor

    almost 3 years ago

    12 Comments

    very informative! :)

    ---

    http://softbodyarmor.tumblr.com

  • White_shirt_max50

    uncledennis1

    over 3 years ago

    23334 Comments

    They forgot number 8. Don't make me have to hurt you.LOL

  • Driving_my_truck_summer_2010_max50

    leathergurl05

    over 3 years ago

    126 Comments

    I enjoyed this article ALOT! This information can also help in personal relationships. Most of us have been there and done that.

  • Esu_patch_max50

    esu

    over 3 years ago

    498 Comments

    Not for me,,,, if I want you to come here Im not asking you nicely Im telling you. If Im telling you I prbably have good reason for doing it, I dont care what you think is my reason. Its like the video we have on this site where an offcer is shot repeatedly yet still still continues to say "Sir, stop shooting me please". I also dont think half the mutts Ive interacted with could understand more than 5 word sentences. It might have a place sometime somewhere I'm just not sure where. I remember an FBI study on cop killers, most of them thought the cop was too soft based on his demeanor, actions and words and they thought they could take advantage of the officer because of that. Most agreed that the officer should have been more authoritative. That always stuck in the back of my mind when dealing with perps.

  • Puppy_max50

    jwoods4290

    over 3 years ago

    66 Comments

    funny but true.

  • Evil_max50

    Scurge

    over 3 years ago

    1232 Comments

    I can't think of other things that top those 3 things, I'm just sayin

  • Clip_image002_max50

    TYRAPCSO40

    over 3 years ago

    4 Comments

    Stuff

  • Mandy_and_me_max50

    FCPD0341

    over 3 years ago

    792 Comments

    Wow....I think I say those 7 things on a daily basis

  • Tbl_max50

    LP27

    over 3 years ago

    592 Comments

    Verbal judo is the first step in becoming a ninja!

  • Id

    SgtSteve

    over 3 years ago

    10 Comments

    When you're dealing with an out of control arrestee who is demanding to know you name and badge number, I have learned that saying, "my name is Officer F... You!" can backfire. Sure is therapeutic with the right people though.

  • Don_27t_20tred_20on_20me_max50

    Riot

    over 3 years ago

    516 Comments

    #1 thing a cop should never say.....*drumroll*

    "Man, it sure is quiet tonight!"

  • Img_0029_2_max50

    Joe1095

    over 3 years ago

    4 Comments

    I just wish more of us would follow this. Its definitely a hidden tactical response to be able to be nice, even to people who we know in the back of our mind that we are about to arrest.

  • Super_mom_max50

    hasaan0406

    over 3 years ago

    104 Comments

    headshot...thats a clever recovery tactic! thumbs up! lol

  • Me2_max50

    bstites

    over 3 years ago

    1028 Comments

    I bump jworrell.

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