Citizen Complaints

The law enforcement officer who is operating out from under authority will often lead the police department in citizen complaints. The Independent Spirit that he or she demonstrates when interacting with the public can generate a reaction on the part of the citizen, which can in turn generate a complaint on the officer. I have been in police administration for a long time and I have seen this scenario played out over and over.

An officer that maintains his or her composure under pressure, on the other hand, demonstrates the type of character that builds public trust in our relationship with the citizens. This is the highest ideal of law enforcement: to bring peace out of disorder.

Dr. George Thompson brings this out in his tactical communications course, Verbal Judo. He emphasizes the importance of controlling the tongue. In fact, one of the dynamics in Series 2 (the Dynamic of Compliance) is based on Dr. George Thompson’s teachings.

4 thoughts on “Citizen Complaints

  1. Thomas Jefferson said, “It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.” I’m trying to make good use of my down time here.

    Hmmmm. Sounds like an idea for another post….

    NOTE: For those of you unfamiliar with Lisa’s work, she conducts emotional survival training and support for law enforcement and public safety personnel. Check out her websites at: and

  2. As a retired cop, I believe in 2010 there are more people willing to make compaints against law enforcement. The challenge is to beat the system. The cops of today need to use every resource to keep the public on their side. Too many times, people hear stories of cops being heavy handed, but they don’t get the full story. I believe verbal judo classes can be a good training tool, and cops being more involved with community events, is also very important. At the end of the day, The public needs to be reminded of the dedicated men and women, who believe 100 percent, what that badge represents!

    • You’re absolutely correct. We must take the time to build trust-based relationships BEFORE there is a crisis. Just spending a little time to get to know people through regular face to face contact is the key. Then they are much more likely to defend rather than criticize when you are under fire…

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