Hello, This is Gary Klugiewicz.
Dave Young and I just finished facilitating a four day Verbal Defense & Influence Instructor Class at the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office located near Minneapolis, MN. It was a very interesting class with lots of interaction with the instructors in the class. Daniel Zeller, a security patrol lieutenant for Mall of America, brought up an interesting observation that he had made about how officers sometimes use persuasion during officer / citizen contacts. In VDI training, we spend a great deal of time on the Persuasion Sequence that is a five step process for persuading a person to do what an officer is asking them to do. Dan has seen this process sometimes circumvented so that it becomes a checklist that allows an officer to take action rather than a vehicle for de-escalation of conflict. This problem goes way beyond public safety applications and impacts all contact professionals who have to deal with difficult persons.
Read on to see what this VDI Instructor has to say about this issue:
“In regards to the Persuasion Sequence when we are in contact with a subject and want them to do something, some officers may view it as merely a checklist or steps they need to follow in order to make an arrest. Rather than using the technique to generate voluntary compliance, cooperation, and collaboration, they fly through the options and confirming non-compliance because their department policy states that is what they are required to do prior to making an arrest under these circumstances. Although this does not occur with regularity, it can be assumed that it does occasionally happen.
With the newer officers they should be reminded that time is on our side. They should take the time to attempt to persuade the subject and not be so quick to throw on the handcuffs. It would be in our best interest to address it with our line officers and remind them that the Persuasion Sequence is there to do just that, persuade the subject to comply, rather than be taken into custody. We need to be in the guardian mindset and treat these people with dignity and respect.”
Thank you Lt. Zeller for this insight into the challenges of persuasion. Tom Cline wrote an interesting article entitled “Are You a Helper or Hunter” in American Street Beat that can be accessed at https://apbweb.com/are-you-a-helper-or-hunter/. Are you functioning and using the persuasion sequence as a helper, i.e. protector or as a hunter, i.e., an enforcer? While public safety officers and other contact professionals have to enforce laws, policies, and rules, they must always remember that their primary function is that of a protector. Remember that the purpose of the Persuasion Sequence is to generate voluntary compliance, cooperation, and compliance – not to be a vehicle to quickly take action. By efficiently and effectively asking, explaining why, presenting options, and giving the person a second chance, you will have the best chance of persuading the person and not have to resort to taking action.
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