1. List the major obstacles to good communication in the day to day work of a police agency, and detail the major strategies you would use to overcome those obstacles.
People fail to effectively communicate with each other all the time, even when speaking face to face. An idea that an individual wants to express may sound perfectly normal, just, and understandable in their head. However, when left up to interpretation someone else may comprehend what is trying to be expressed completely differently. There are several major obstacles in providing effective and good communication within the day to day operations of a police agency, to include inferences, when a meaning is attached to a message that the message giver never intended. As well as, an assumption, when there is thought that specific grounds for the content of a message exist, but they do not. Another is bypassing. This occurs when two people are talking to each other, using the same word, but it has a different meaning to each of them, which is often due to cultural background. Overgeneralization is also another common communication obstacle. This happens when to general of a conclusion is drawn.
In dealing with the above mentioned obstacles, appropriate awareness and action should be taken before miscommunications occur. For one, nothing should ever be assumed. Always ask for clarity if the specific intent of the message is not spelled out. New hires should be made aware of common communication obstacles and how not to get caught up in communication breakdowns. In large departments it may be a wise idea to have annual communication workshops, just to keep everyone communicating effectively together.
3. Explain the difference between one way and two way communication. Give an example of each.
One-way communication is hierarchical and lacks the essential feedback that tells the sender that their message has been understood in the way they desire. Orders getting sent down a line could get lost if there is no feedback. Feedback is what makes management aware of problems in the communication process. For example, there could be a general order issued for checking certain businesses at night. A Sargent would then detail this duty to officers in the area for the times specified. However, the administrator would have no idea what action is being taken if there is no feedback. In this instance the administrator at least needs to know if the message was clear, what if any action took place as a result of the message, and if modifications should be made to any action or inaction as a result of the message.
Two-way communication is always a better and much clearer form of communication. With this style of communication there is feedback from the receiver to the sender of the message. In two-way communication, communication is negotiated. Both sender and receiver listen to each other, gather information and are willing to make changes to work together. The intent is to negotiate a mutually satisfactory situation. A good example of this style of communication would be an immediate supervisor assigning a subordinate a duty, the subordinate then communicates back to the supervisor, original sender, with feedback. The sender now knows that his message has been received. Further communication can than happen between the two until the situation is resolved.
Chapter 6 key terms
Chain of Command - A hierarchal system of communication. Whereby authority passes down from the top through a series of ranks in which each is accountable to the one directly superior. The ranks at the top of the hierarchy never directly speak to those at the bottom, they go through middlemen. Standard Operating Procedure – A procedure that will affect the entire department on an ongoing basis, over time. It has a specific start date but no ending date. General Order – Are created for informational purposes, such as legal changes, not operational orders and are distributed to all personnel. Source:
Thibault, Edward A., Lawrence M. Lynch, and R. Bruce. McBride. Proactive Police Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education/Prentice Hall, 2011. Print.