Effective Communication in a Criminal Justice Settings
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In the criminal justice system, a police officer’s ability to communicate is one of the most important traits an officer can have. Police officers communicate with everyone from the public to peers, arrestees, victim and suspect families, and court personnel. A police officer must determine the most effective way to communicate, using several different methods, with everyone without offending or sounding weak. Public Announcements to the Press
Police officers deal with the public on a constant basis. Many times, police officers will have to address the public in a professional, staged appearance. Public announcements can be in person, often live in front of news cameras, or a written statement the press uses to publish in the print media, website, or news broadcast. High-profile cases, riots, or inmate suicides are reasons a corrections officer may need to provide an announcement to the press. Upon making a public announcement, it is important for the corrections officer to speak directly to the audience and keep sentences short to avoid confusing the audience (Wallace & Roberson, p. 71, 2009). Usually, when giving a public address announcement, the press will follow up the message with questions of their own to clarify the remarks, or in an attempt to get additional information if the message is too vague. When a police officer speaks to the media publically, it is important for the officer to know his or her facts and be very keen on the topic (Wallace & Roberson, p. 79, 2009). If there was an officer involved shooting, the public and the media could care less to hear about the new patrol cars or k-9 unit. It is important to be punctual and understand the timeframe the speaker has to present his or her information to the media. The speaker should prepare him or herself by having notes or an outline to follow, it is not a good idea to “wing it,” especially if the purpose for the public announcement is serious. A speaker’s appearance is important because the media and public could be critical and doubt the sincerity of the speech if the speaker fails to take the time necessary to look presentable. When a police officer provides a written announcement he or she needs to be as professional as possible. It is important to avoid the use of legal or technical jargon, slang, or words the audience may be unfamiliar with (Wallace & Roberson, p. 73, 2009). The print media may not have the time to contact the speaker and ask for clarification so it is important to use clear and concise language when providing written statements for the media. Testifying in court
Effective communication in the courtroom is a necessary cog in the wheel of criminal justice. As a police officer, it is important to understand the importance of effective communication while presenting evidence or testifying in court. Defense attorneys will try to confuse try to make the officer second-guess his or her actions or the content of an incident report. An ill-prepared corrections officer may become impatient and exasperated if challenged by an aggressive defense attorney (Wallace & Roberson, p. 111, 2009). Police officers commonly make errors because of the lack of preparedness prior to taking the witness stand (Wallace & Roberson, p. 71, 2009). Police officers should meet with the attorney they are being summons by in order to read over their report and refresh their memory in preparation for the stand. If a police officer is set to testify during a trial, it behooves the officer to communicate with the prosecution to prepare for questions the Prosecution will ask, and potential questions the defense attorney will ask. When a police officer writes a report, it is essential to include important and necessary information. Police officers write various types of reports. However, the information contained in each type of report must be clear,...
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