Pete Jaskulski

Looking Good On Camera at the Hartford, WI PD Mini-Academy

Hi everyone, this is Pete Jaskulski, Verbal Defense and Influence (VDI) instructor.

I recently had the opportunity to present a four hour VDI orientation at the Hartford, WI mini-police academy. The academy is the brain child of the Hartford Police Department. This year (it’s an annual event) it was held from March 7-11. The topics included “Child Pornography Investigations”, a review of the tragic Trooper Casper Shooting (WI State Patrol), a review of the Century 16 Theatre shooting (Aurora, CO), “Managing the Media in a Mass Casualty Event-An Overview of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting” and other presentations.
The focus of the VDI presentation was “Looking Good on Camera”. There were 120 police officers and command staff in attendance. The size of the group presents a challenge in providing Performance Driven Instruction but the group was able to perform a Universal Greeting, several proxemic drills and a redirection. There was also a focus on the “Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing” and how the Verbal Defense and Influence training addresses many of the recommendations in the report.
As always I was approached by many of the attendees that expressed the need for this type of training in law enforcement. According to Hartford P.D. Chief David Groves, the training was extremely well received. Chief Groves and his staff and volunteers put on a great mini academy, recognizing the need for providing training in how to communicate effectively on camera during conflict situations.

Keeping the Sporting Event Safe: Reestablishing Order in the Game

Hi everyone, its Pete Jaskulski, Verbal Defense and Influence Instructor and baseball umpire.
I recently wrote a column in the March issue of Referee Magazine titled “When Order Must be Reestablished in the Game”. The column dealt with reestablishing order after a game has been disrupted by a fight. In the article I listed 6 tactics that are needed to reestablish order and continue the game:
• Get yourself under control (Showtime);
• Ask the players and coaches to go back to their respective benches;
• Get your crew together to debrief the incident;
• Inform the coaches what kind of discipline will be imposed and listen to their perspective;
• Conduct a meeting with the players and/or coaches to re-state your expectations of their conduct;
• Re-start the game.

The importance of treating the coaches and players with dignity by showing them respect was stressed along with the “Showtime Tactic” which helps the officials to maintain their own emotional equilibrium. If you would like to read this column (and future columns) you can subscribe to the magazine through this web site:

Otherwise, you can read more on conflict in athletics in my book “Confidence in Conflict for Sports Officials- Practical Tips for Staying Out of the Crossfire and Keeping Peace During the Game.

Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office To Host Wisconsin Jail Association Worship On Verbalization, Proxemics, Bystander Mobilization and Crisis Intervention Strategies

The Wisconsin Jail Association is conducing an eight (8) hour workshop on Friday, November 6, 2015 at the Milwaukee Country Sheriff’s Office Training Academy (9225 South 68th St, Franklin). Instructors for the workshop are from Vistelar, a Milwaukee-based conflict management training company, and will include Gary Klugiewicz, Joel Lashley, Pete Jaskulski, Mike Mastaw, Derrick S. Washington, Sr, Jill Weisensel and Bob Willis. Online registration is at

Gary Klugiewicz, Director Training at Vistelar, said, “We are excited to be putting on this workshop for Wisconsin correctional professionals.  This cost effective, information packed, training event will provide valuable additions to the attendee’s tactical tool belt while introducing them to the valuable resources provided by the Wisconsin Jail Association.”

Here is just some of what attendees will learn:

  • Staying safe and defending your verbal and physical response in a video rich world
  • Communicating with, persuading, and non / de-escalating people who are different from you
  • Utilizing Point-of-Impact Crisis Interventions (P.I.C.I.) tactics that reduce conflict and promotes safe resolution
  • Developing your tactical verbal response and translating it into your verbal testimony and written reports
  • Mastering tactics for controlling distance, relative positioning, and proxemics to stay safe in close quarter encounters.
  • Using Bystander Mobilization to get people to intervene before things get out of hand.
  • Keeping everyone safer with RIPP restraints during non-cooperative prisoner escort / transportation.

The normal cost of the workshop is $35.00 but it’s free for those who attended the 2015 Wisconsin Jail Association Annual Conference. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

The Wisconsin Jail Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting those who work in and operate Wisconsin Jails. Vistelar is a global consulting and training organization focused on preventing and managing conflict at the point of impact (

[MUST SEE VIDEO]Referee Assaulted by Players

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Hi everyone, this is Pete Jaskulski.

I recently viewed the video from the Texas high school football game in which two players deliberately assaulted the umpire during a play. One player blindsided him from the rear and the other player “drilled” him while he was on the ground. According to reports from Texas both players are being criminally charged.

Regardless of what lead up to this assault, it is reprehensible and it should be severely dealt with. I would like to make the connection with Verbal Defense and Influence concepts to describe how I debrief these incidents in my mind and how this may have been prevented. The first thing that comes to mind is the Five Maxims of Communications and the fact the all people wanted to be treated with dignity by showing them respect. It has been reported that the team in question was frustrated with the calls on the field and one of their players was ejected by this official. If the official used racial slurs toward these kids, the coaches or the team, it is unacceptable. Not only is it inappropriate but it creates a very volatile atmosphere on the field.

I would also ask these questions relative to the Verbal Defense and Influence Concepts. Did the other officials address any behavior that resulted from frustrations during the game? Remember the “social contract” and the rules of the game need to be addressed. If they aren’t, then the bad behavior will continue and it tends to become more aggressive and at times leads to violence. If these kids were complaining about the calls and ejections how was it handled? Did the official(s) redirect their behavior? Was the “Persuasion Sequence” used to get them to modify their behavior? Were “words alone failing” so there needed to be sanctions for their behavior? Was there “Bystander Mobilization” by asking the head coach to assist you in controlling the behavior of the other coaches and players? Was the “Closure Principle” utilized by explaining to the players and coaches why someone needed to be ejected? I don’t know if these things happened during this game, but as an athletic official this is what I think about.

I talk about all of these issues in my book “Confidence in Conflict for Sports Officials”. Athletics can become very emotional. We as officials need to professionally address that emotion, which is sometimes bad behavior, to keep it from boiling over.

Major League Soccer Referees

Hi everybody, its Pete Jaskulski.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to and train approximately 80 referees and support staff from Major League Soccer (MLS). The training and development of these referees is managed and performed by Pro Referee, which is an independent organization that is responsible for administering professional referees in North America.
Pro Referee runs two day camps for the Major League Soccer Referees throughout their season. This particular camp was held in Park City, Utah. They asked us to assist them with strategies in the areas of conflict and teamwork. The staff from Pro Referee was interested in improving the referee’s image through both their verbal and non-verbal communications. These referees are some of the best in the world and they are committed to their sport through fitness, training and professionalism. I presented them with a quick overview of the Verbal Defense and Influence program. We then spent time breaking down the importance of Showtime, the Universal Greeting, Redirections, Distances (10-5-2) and debriefing skills.
There was a significant amount of discussion dealing with the different cultures that are present amongst the players and the referees. The Five Maxims of Communications was explained to point out how everyone is the same instead of concentrating on all of the cultural differences. The importance of looking good and sounding good was emphasized. Every MLS game is broadcast to an audience and every referee is evaluated after their game. This reinforced the importance of Showtime and the non-verbal communications. The image of the MLS referee was important to the organization.
The training sessions consisted of two one hour classroom sessions and some work on the soccer field the next day. On the field we worked on “stacking up your blocks”, distances and redirections. This is where the discussions took place, brainstorming if you may. We were able to apply the skills taught in the classroom to the “real world” of fast paced soccer play. Not only were we able to reinforce what they were doing right, we were able to point out and improve their non-verbal communication on the field. The drill on the field were beneficial me as well as the referees. It was a great experience.

Confidence in Conflict for Sports Officials: Introduction by Pete Jaskulski

I have had the distinct pleasure of teaching the Verbal Defense & Influence courses to different organizations throughout the United States, presenting to law enforcement agencies, corrections, and government agencies such as the Transportation Security Administration, Oregon Department of Agriculture, the United States military and the San Luis Obispo Transit Authority. The list of people and organizations continues to grow. The list also includes utility companies, realtors, health care and education organizations. Each organization faces the challenge of communicating with people that experience conflict.

My challenge in writing this book is to reach across all sports and be able to explain the concepts of proper verbalization relative to the sport you officiate. The good news is that these concepts apply to all sports. The universal factor is “conflict.” The terminology used in these different sports may vary. The words “game,” “ejection” and “foul” may mean different things in different sports. In making references and giving examples, I am going to simplify things by referring to an event as a “game.”

Have you been around people who complain about the coaches, parents, fans and even the players in youth sports (or any level of sport)? You may have been the one complaining. There are good officials that leave officiating because they become frustrated with the behavior of the people involved in the sport. I want to keep those people from leaving by giving them the tools to manage the conflict they experience while officiating.

When I speak to sports organizations, I reference a CNBC report from January 2014 that states that youth sports has become a 7 billion dollar industry in travel alone. People are spending their money in sports outside of school-related activities so their kids can develop in their sport of choice. Understanding what is at stake for the players, coaches and parents (fans) is the first step in learning how to manage the conflict. My wife and I have spent a lot of money for our two kids to participate in baseball, softball, soccer, football and basketball. We expect those people who officiate in those events to work as hard as our kids do during that game. We expect the officials to treat the players, coaches and fans with dignity by showing them respect. The officials can play a big part in the development of the people involved in these sports by modeling the proper behavior during the sporting event.

Regardless of what sport we want to officiate, or at what level we want to officiate, we have to become skilled at communicating with people in crisis while we are under pressure. If we don’t have this skill, it’s going to be a long game. What help can we give you? It’s called Verbal Defense & Influence (VDI) for Sports officials.

After retiring from my career as a captain for the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office, I became a Training Consultant for Vistelar, which is a global speaking and training organization focused on addressing the entire spectrum of human conflict, from interpersonal discord, verbal abuse and bullying to crisis communications, assault and physical violence. Verbal defense & Influence (VDI) is a component within Vistelar. During my law enforcement career, I was heavily involved in training and VDI was one of the programs I taught and utilized. At that time, I also umpired high school and college baseball. The skills I used to communicate effectively as a deputy sheriff translated into officiating. I started to make the connection every time I walked in between the lines on the field (and even before and after the games).

After making the connection, I began teaching the concepts to new and experienced umpires which solidified the connection. As a training consultant, I then had the opportunity to speak and teach the VDI skills to soccer officials. This was my chance to apply the skills outside of the world of baseball umpiring. Those sessions solidified my belief that the conflicts  occurring in sports crosses over from sport to sport, and the tactics and skills taught in VDI are applicable in sports (and other life situations) outside of baseball.

The goal of our VDI program is to help the sports official achieve the following:

  • Enhance professionalism;
  • Decrease complaints from stakeholders in the sport (coaches, players, fans, league commissioners, assigners);
  • Lessen the stress involved in dealing with conflict;
  • Teach you how to articulate your decisions which can assist in your evaluations by supervisors;
  • Increase your morale — keep officiating fun.

The VDI program will teach you the skills needed to communicate effectively under stress. Therefore you will have a better chance of preventing conflict (between everyone) during the event. It also helps you reduce the chance of any emotional or physical violence that may occur. You will officiate effectively in the midst of stress. In the world of digital media, how you come across to others is tremendously important and can affect your career. The VDI program better prepares you to be ready at all times to handle people and situations more effectively. If someone YouTube’s your game or Snapchat’s, Tweets or Instagram’s an incident, you are demonstrating the best possible skills and appearance for other’s to see. That reflects well on you, your position as a sports official, your supervisor and the conference or league you work in. Our program enhances your ability to communicate calls and decisions. If social media is reporting your game, you are ready.

In understanding the reason people behave in a certain way during a game, the first thing officials need to understand is that there are “Four Great American” questions that people will ask those in positions of authority:

  1. Why (did you make that call)?
  2. Who are you (to tell me what to do)?
  3. Where do you get your authority (to make that call)?
  4. What’s in it for me (you cost me…)?

This is the first step in understanding why coaches, players and fans react emotionally. They want answers. The tactics taught in VDI assist the officials in providing the answers without interrupting the flow of game.  The goal is to achieve compliance, cooperation or collaboration (3 C’s) during the game. We call these the 3 C’s.

The VDI program can be divided into ten concepts:

  1. Be Alert and Decisive/Respond, Don’t React to Conflict;
  2. The Five Maxims of Communications;
  3. The “Showtime” Mindset;
  4. The Universal Greeting;
  5. Beyond Active Listening;
  6. Redirections;
  7. The Persuasion Sequence;
  8. Bystander Mobilization;
  9. When Words Alone Fail;
  10. Review and Reporting.

We will explain and break down each concept with examples of their applications in sports officiating.