There are several principal forms of professional communication that can be employed by law enforcement officers. These include verbal, electronic, and written interaction and body (sign) language. Police officers have to interact with different individuals at work, such as victims, witnesses, perpetrators, peers, community leaders, elected officials, supervisors, and executives. The manner of communicating with each of these may vary, but one thing must remain unchanged: a police officer should always remain professional and considerate. Taking into account the specifications of various communication forms, the verbal one seems to be the most suitable for those working in law enforcement.
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Personal interaction is preferable to written or electronic one almost in all duties police officers’ have. When speaking to a victim, a witness, or a perpetrator, it is highly crucial to speak face to face. By doing so, one can make sure that he or she does not miss anything in the interlocutor’s body language or facial expressions. Furthermore, personal interaction enables the professional to create a trusting atmosphere and avoid fear or distrust on the part of the person with whom one is communicating. When reaching out to a witness or a victim by means of a phone call or an email, the police officer is likely to meet indifference and refusal. Meanwhile, personal meetings increase the likelihood of one’s intention to cooperate with law enforcement.
Written or electronic communication may be useful when reporting to one’s executive or supervisor. However, in other cases, it is more desirable to resort to personal verbal interaction. One should pick the right tone and rate of communication not to make the interlocutor feel uncomfortable. Overall, by careful avoidance of several potential barriers, a law enforcement officer can gain the best results by communicating with witnesses, victims, and other participants of the work process verbally and directly.