People worldwide rely on officers of the law to protect their community while being both fair and just. Officer Terrence Richardson of the Shreveport Police Department has worked hard to live up to these expectations in only a short amount of time. As a “rookie” who has only worked as an officer for eight months, Officer Richardson had no idea what this job entailed.
About Shreveport’s Finest
His initial motivation to become an officer of the law stemmed from simply wanting to make a difference in the neighborhood that he grew up in. A Shreveport native, Terrence has been a student, a sales associate at a retail store, and worked as a mail carrier before deciding that these jobs have not offered him the stability or fulfillment that he desired. He decided to give Shreveport Police Department a try when openings for patrol officers became available. He explained his initial feelings before joining the police department saying that, “[he] knew that [he] had to do something more to make an impact on the community that [he] was raised in, although [he] was nervous about being in the line of duty”. Officer Richardson overcame this nervousness and successfully joined the SPD.
Types of Communication in Law Enforcement
When asked how important communication is in the law enforcement field, Officer Richardson stated that, “communication is definitely integrated in about 95% of everything that I do. I would consider it the most important part of this job.” He uses and experiences many forms of communication, specifically verbal/oral, nonverbal, and written. Terrence’s list of daily duties include constantly being in contact with dispatchers and his fellow officers through use of a radio and computing system, non verbally communicating with fellow officers, orally communicating with people, and communicating through paperwork.
Oral communication is essential in the workplace for Officer Richardson. Communicating as clearly, quickly, and proficiently as possible to both his coworkers and to people in general help make situations run more smoothly. If clear, this form of communication creates a sense of trust between the two parties and leaves little room for misunderstanding. This is especially important in encounters that could potentially be troublesome for the people involved and the officers who respond to these situations.
Things that are Better Left Unsaid
Another form of communication that is not often considered in careers is nonverbal communication. Officers must learn certain gestures and movements that could easily indicate the point that they are trying to make, without using words.
Importance of Written Communication
Written communication is also a key to success in the police department. A daily stoolie, which could be considered a call log, must be completed and signed by sergeants for each officer at the end of their shifts. Officers are also required to fill out a report for each call that is taken. This report details the officers’ explanation and interpretation of the calls that they respond to throughout the day. This information is pertinent to court officials in the legal system, insurance companies, or the police department themselves. It is imperative an accurate account is taken for each case that patrol officers work on.
Difficulties in Communication
Surprisingly enough, technical communication is not often used in this line of work. Officers often use slang and short hands which people interpret from their reports. This is one area that needs improvement. Richardson says, “There is a need for more technical communication so that officers can learn to conduct themselves more professionally.”
Overall, communication has played a vital role in Officer Richardson’s professional life which has helped to improve communication in his personal life. He values what he has learned in his career because it has helped him become more understanding when dealing with people.
Asha Washington, Guest Blogger