November, 24, 2014
Effective communication is essential in everyday living. In the criminal justice field, misunderstandings can affect many individuals. It is very important to acknowledge the concepts and utilize the tools that create great communication. For communication to take place there must be a sender and a receiver. This can be a citizen and an officer, an officer and an officer, a detective and an officer, or a group of people. There are five steps in communicating; transmitting an idea, sending an idea through a medium, receiving the message, understanding the idea in the message, and providing feedback to the sender of the message (Miller L. & Whitehead J., 2010). To be successful in communicating, one must know the two different forms of communication, the different channels of communication, know the communication barriers that can cause ineffective communication, and know the difference between listening and hearing.
Communication is defined as “a process involving several steps, among two or more persons, for the primary purpose of exchanging information” (Wallace & Roberson, 2009). This process can involve two types of communication: verbal and nonverbal. Verbal communication is the transmition of information orally and visually. Speech is a progressive component of the verbal communication process. For speech to be effective, the speaker needs to speak clearly, understand the meaning of the words one is using, do not speak in slang terms, and be aware of culture differences. In a criminal justice organization, it is necessary to have good oral communication skills. These are needed when requesting assistance from other officers, when informing supervisors of certain actions that have occurred, when talking with the general public, and advising suspects of their Miranda Rights (Wallace & Roberson, 2009). The way a person uses their body language is the visual aspect of verbal communication. Poor body language can send mixed messages to the receiver. For example, an officer could be speaking with a citizen about a juvenile program and the officer’s body language is very poor and un-enthusiastic, then the receiver could assume that the officer does not really care about the program. If the officer had great body posture, spoke with emotions, and used an encouraging tone, then the receiver would assume the officer generally cares about the program and the juveniles the program can help. This could also encourage the public to support such a program.
Nonverbal communication would include transmitting messages through writing and the use of electronic methods. With this type of communication, it is essential to have great grammar skills. One must know the meaning of certain words, use words in their correct context, have correct spelling, and know where and how to use correct grammar. If the writer were to use run on sentences, use misspelled words, use the wrong word, or not use correct grammar quotations, the receiver may misunderstand the meaning behind the message. An example of this would be if a police officer wrote, “There where three suspects in tonight’s robbery and one broke the window, and one broke the door down, and their are two guns involved that were shot and there are bullet holes in the wall from their guns. The victims did not suffer any injuries. They are African American….” This report can be misunderstood and could take the reader a little more time to try to put together the pieces from run on sentences, misspelled words, and words not being used correctly, such as the word their and there. The report also lacks detail. When writing up reports, the officer needs to be as detailed as possible. In the in-correctly written report above, one misconception would come from the word they. It is unclear on who they; the victims or the suspects are that the writer is referring to that is African American.
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