Tactical Communication for Law Enforcement

Course Description:leadership

Good communication skills are arguably the single most important skills that any law enforcement officer has available. Indeed, the abilities to communicate and to connect with others are important in virtually every aspect of law enforcement. This is because the same principles that apply to criminal interviews apply equally well to soothing strong emotions, building trust, and managing conflict. By understanding the fundamental principles of effective communication, every officer has the potential to calm even the most irate, frustrated, or difficult person.

This highly-interactive course is taught using a combination of small-group learning exercises, facilitated discussions, and problem-solving activities. Students will learn the fundamental principles of communicating and connecting with others, including how to recognize and diffuse strong emotions, mindful listening, promoting positive behaviors, achieving rapport, asking questions, managing conflict, controlling one’s own emotions, taking perspective, and nonverbal communication.


To provide students with the attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary to communicate and to connect with others, to sooth strong emotions, and to manage conflict.

Course Outline:

  • Advantages of effective communication
  • Communication myths
  • Understanding and recognizing emotions
  • Strategies for managing the emotions of others
  • “Fight or flight”
  • Mindful listening skills
  • Barriers to effective listening
  • Promoting positive behavior
  • Conflict management and conflict styles
  • Understanding and meeting basic needs
  • Achieving rapport
  • First impressions
  • Credibility and likability
  • Use of power
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Recognizing and controlling your response
  • Power of perspective
  • Tools for improving communication

The Instructor:

Brian Fitch, Ph.D., is a lieutenant and a 33-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Dr. Fitch is a nationally recognized expert who has trained more than 25,000 law enforcement professionals in leadership, communication, decision making, and ethics throughout the United States, as well as abroad in Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Fitch holds faculty positions at Woodbury University and Southwestern University School of Law. Dr. Fitch has published more than 25 articles on leadership, communication, and ethics in Police Chief, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Law Enforcement Executive Forum, Auspol, RCMP Gazette, and Law and Order, among others. Dr. Fitch has published and edited four books, including Law Enforcement Ethics: Classic and Contemporary Issues (Sage, 2013); and Law Enforcement Interpersonal Communication: The IMPACT Model (Sage, 2015). He is a graduate of the California Commission on POST Master Instructor Development Program and Cornell University’s Executive Leadership Program. Dr. Fitch holds a master’s degree in communication studies and a doctorate in human development.

Course Pre-requisites: Sworn Law Enforcement

Special Equipment/Other Needs: None

Total Course Hours: 8 Hours

Training Activity: Classroom

Approved Course List: 25 Maximum

Course Number: Not in course catalog

Course Justification: Counter-Terrorism Investigations and Law Enforcement - 2.1: The law enforcement community will ensure that suspects involved in criminal activities related to homeland security are successfully identified, deterred, detected, disrupted, investigated, and apprehended.

Target Discipline: LE Supervisors at all levels, including FTO, corporal, and sergeant, lieutenant.

Training Level: Performance Defensive (Operations)