Teaching first responders effective communication

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 9:38 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - How police can communicate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds has been in the news lately. A class offered to local first responders teaches them how to talk effectively with people of different backgrounds.

Tactical communication is a technique attempting to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the neighborhoods it serves.

Oregon Police officer Angel Tucker teaches the course, which focuses on the diverse communication styles in socioeconomic circles. Tucker says officers can jump from an under-funded community to a mansion, then into a middle-class neighborhood, and back again, all in one shift.

The class educates first responders about the driving forces behind poverty and wealth, as well as how social class creates often hidden language rules and relationships. The course is offered as a partnership among the Sophia Counseling Center, Lourdes University Department of Criminal and Social Justice, and Sylvania Area Family Services.

“I know the golden rule, treat people how you want to be treated, in theory, is a good idea, but if I grew up underresourced, where I did grow up, and I talk to someone who’s in wealth, our golden rules may be different. We may find ourselves offending each other. So what you come to expect as a norm may not be a norm for me or vice versa, but if I understand what your norm is, and you understand what my norm is, we can better address each other,” says Officer Tucker.

Anyone can take the class. Officer Tucker says after first responders have been in the field a while, they tend to find themselves wanting to take a tactical communications course.

There is another free session next Thursday. To sign up, contact Polly Taylor-Gerken, Sohpia Center Program Director and Licensed School Psychologist at

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