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More Police Courtesy, Olander

Conduct at the Desk

I work for a smaller agency that doesn’t necessarily have a desk officer. If people have questions, they often call our dispatch center and we get a message to call them back to answer their questions. In a sense, I guess we’re all desk officers

Olander reminds us to always have a pleasant and courteous attitude. Even the silliest and seemingly small calls should be treated with the same professionalism as the serious ones. “If the request is for something that cannot be granted or that does not come under the jurisdiction of the police, it can be politely explained or refused by saying ‘I am sorry, but your request is beyond the authority of the police,’ or “we would be glad to help you, but it does not come under our jurisdiction.” This book was written a LONG time ago. It seems just about everything has become the responsibility of the police. If you can find a tactful way of effectively explaining to someone that something is just not a police manner WITHOUT them getting upset, I’d love to hear it!

Promptly greet people, and greet them pleasantly, as they enter the office. Assure them you will get to their needs as soon as is reasonable possible. Offer a place to sit if one is available. Olander felt the need to point out that it is not rude to ask a person’s name if they fail to offer it. It seemed an unusual point to make, so it made me wonder if something has changed since them. Do not patronize people who are young or old. Never act as though the office is your private space, and the person has intruded.

Appear interested. Be patient and tolerant, even if the person is vague or rambling. “If you find it necessary to dismiss him, do it politely by saying you have another engagement, or in whatever way courteously fits the occasion.” I’m not sure Olander expressly endorses pressing your earpiece, feigning listening, and then explaining you have a call, but it seems to fit his rules.

Phone Courtesy

In 1937, while telephones were in wide usage, no one, including the author, could have predicted the increase in phone calls in today’s society. Now more than ever before in the past, it is important to know how to effectively communicate via telephone. Olander stressed that it’s not so much WHAT is said to the caller but HOW it is said. He stresses that the very first words that are spoken might determine the effectiveness of the phone call. The tone of your voice should convey a helpful “at your service” attitude. When answering, answer with your agency and name to avoid wasting time. Have a pen and paper handy so as not to waste anyone’s time. Pay attention to avoid having the caller repeat themselves.

These were very short sections in the chapter but I think it reinforces a lot of points as well as covers some things that while seemingly common sense, we may have all struggled with over time. I think most cops naturally start to lose some of their courtesy over time. We deal with “The Public” every single day. It tends to wear on us. We get annoyed because we deal with the same silly stuff all too often. But I think we tend to forget that for these people interacting with us, it might be their first interaction with police. Whatever they are reporting might be so profound in their peaceful life, yet seem so minor compared to what we deal with daily.

The next few sections are about presentation. Stay tuned.

Like, comment, share, message. This blog is new, and VERY lightly read but I’m always open for discussion if you’re interested. I’ve picked up some other books lately that I’m hoping to get to. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

 

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