People - focus policing: A need for a Paradigm Shift in Texas Policing




Clark, Darren

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


With recent events such as the police-involved shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the choking of Eric Garner in New York City, New York, and the handling of a pool party by Officer Eric Caseboldt in McKinney, Texas, a glaring problem has received international media scrutiny. This problem is the failure of police officers in the United States to effectively communicate with people while on the job. As such, officers need to be trained in empathetic communication tactics as part of a larger model of people-focused Policing. Empathetic communication uses emotional labeling and other tactics to show compassion between the officer and the member of the public. This communication style helps bolster the legitimacy of the policing institution and affects the citizenry’s perception of the process of being unfair or fair; this directly supports the concept of procedural justice. Officers must be fair, knowledgeable and empathetic. Training of officers in empathetic communication and the concepts of legitimacy should be conducted for both current officers and recruits in the academy process. The implementation of people-focused Policing will require a cultural change in the policing environment.


How lack of effective communications with people while on the job can escalate tension between police and the public and how empathetic communication might help.


police - community relations, police community relations