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Emotional intelligence in de-escalation

We cannot effectively de-escalate a situation if we cannot de-escalate ourselves

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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 we must do so.

We’re talking about heightened emotional responses such as anger or gross overreaction. Bad things can happen when an officer loses his or her temperature and overreacts to a situation. Emotional responses are not objective or rational responses. We’ve seen it, we’ve heard it, all of us. 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 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.

Get more tips from Gordon here.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.