3 tips for law enforcement crisis communication success
- Written by Amy Dinsmore
- April 12 2016
Training management is critical as law enforcement agencies work to prepare officers to communicate effectively during crisis situations. Robust training materials play a critical role in preparing officers for anything involving a crisis. When emergencies strike, people tend to panic. This is when law enforcement agencies are especially important to communities, as they can provide level-headed decision-making and stability to help people get through crisis situations. However, preventing panic within your ranks is only possible if officers understand precisely how they should respond in emergency situations, something that is particularly complex when it comes to both internal and external crisis communications.
While training is vital for crisis communication, there is still the question of how to maximize training efforts. These three tips can help you lay the groundwork for an effective training program:
1. Make sure officers understand when they can make judgment calls
The need for intelligent, decisive responses is one of the greatest challenges when it comes to crisis response. Officers facing a crisis must be prepared to quickly decide how to communicate the situation back to superiors in the office and to civilians in the immediate vicinity who are noticing the situation unfolding before them. The ability to quickly evaluate the situation and wisely communicate different details to various parties based on what they need to know is absolutely critical.
2. Use video and other advanced media in training
Robust document management software enables organizations to integrate media-rich content into training. Instead of depending on standard training manuals and in-person classroom training, the right software will let you integrate solutions like video into your digital training manuals, making the content much more engaging for users. In addition, you can create tests based on the training content, creating a situation in which officers must pay attention and take in critical information to complete the test and sign off on completion of the training module.
These capabilities come together to create more impactful training, something that is particularly important when it comes to crisis communication.
3. Formalize key processes
One challenge in a crisis is making sure that every stakeholder understands his or her role and is able to pass information along accordingly. For example, an officer in the field may report to a higher-ranking official, who then reports to the chief, who contacts relevant third-party personnel, like the mayor’s office, special units and similar groups. Training and policy management procedures must be put in place here to ensure officers understand exactly who they need to contact, when they should reach out and what information should be detailed in these communications. The right information going to the right people in a timely fashion can go a long way in streamlining crisis response.
Crisis communication – both internally and to the public – requires a rare combination of improvised decision-making and policy compliance. Effective training prepares officers to handle this balancing act and helps them get through crisis events in the best way possible.