Conflict Management Training Enhances Officer Safety and Reduces Incidents and Complaints of Using Force

“Hi, my name is Tom Poellot. I’m the Chief of Police in the Cudahy Police Department in Wisconsin. We chose Vistelar at the Cudahy Police Department because we wanted to give officers and all staff more tools to successfully resolve conflict, to have more positive outcomes. When we define positive outcomes, we look at increased satisfaction from the public and our partners. We also look at reduced complaints and less use of force in situations.

Since implementing this training at the Cudahy Police Department, I think I’ve really seen two distinct positive outcomes. Number one, from the law enforcement side, this training to reduce complaints from citizens, increased satisfaction when working with police officers on the street, when officers are dealing with conflict situations.

The second is actually in our dispatch center. Since we’ve implemented this in dispatch, just the universal greeting when they answer the phone sets the context for a positive interaction with the caller. They’re able to engage in non-escalation of the phone call as well as a deescalation, if somebody’s already calling in and they’re amped up when they make the telephone call.

I believe that this training is important for law enforcement across the country. I think I can sum it up by relaying the POLE acronym. It’s for physical safety of law enforcement staff on the street. It’s for organizational safety so that they’re not getting in trouble with policy violations or violations that involve the way they’re speaking with people.

Legally, I think training to reduce complaints keeps the organizations safe as well as the individual officers. Emotional safety, I think, is extremely important. I think that for a police officer to feel confident in the job and to portray that while he’s interacting with the public, and having the arrows in his quiver, so to speak, to engage in non-escalation and deescalation in situations rather than having to resort to any type of physical use of force, if possible. I think that it provides an emotionally safe environment for police officers and other staff to work in.”

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Conflict Management, de-escalation, Verbal Defense and Influence, violence reduction

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