Chapter 2: Literacies at work, for fun, and at school

2.9.3 What are the literacy practices of police officers? (prospectus)

Anonymous English 102 Writer

April 2021

For my final essay I will be continuing the topic on the literacies police officers are involved in daily. In my previous two essay papers, I spoke about police officers’ communication skills requirements, the writing and typing standards needed to complete a report properly. I also wrote about speaking and interacting with victims and suspects. Those topics were from my own experiences as being a police officer. In this essay, I will be using research articles to learn more about different literacy practices. Literacy practice from a police standpoint is very impactful to the job and how the police are viewed. It is important for the public and the police to have a positive relationship because they both need each other equally. With the research questions and the information hopefully, it brings a better understanding of how police must operate and what they can control and cannot control.  

The first research question I have is how officers communicate effectively using radio. This topic will discuss the many ways police communicate when there is an emergency, and the situation must be handled appropriately. It keeps officer’s safe having effective communication skills with the dispatcher and other officers. Officers must provide their location and time of arrival to the dispatcher to always have a known location. Next, I will speak on how writing is a necessary and important skill police officers must develop. Policework involves many ways to write and has a lot to do with the structure of writing and the proper way to write as a professional in this field.  I will write about the training the police officers go through so they will be prepared and organized when representing the department.  

My next topic will be how do police officers read the body language of an individual? Reading body language is normal for everyone but I will discuss how essential it is for a police officer, especially when they are encountering criminals daily. I will discuss the way a criminal will act when they are hiding something, for example, if they are stuttering and many other nervous antics. After body language I will discuss officers responding to victims first and what usually occurs that officers must be prepared for. Victims are a key part of the crime because they have been violated and must be treated with gentleness and care. Then I will break down this question further and expand on de-escalation and how it can affect the situation for the good or bad. De-Escalation techniques have become familiar in law enforcement and a required training tool to use which I will connect with Use of Force incidents. My fourth question will be how de-escalation tactics can lead to less use of force incidents. I will explain first what use of force is and why it is so prevalent to police work and the factors of Use of force. Also, I will explain why it is beneficial to decrease Use of force incidents for the greater good of society. Use of force incidents has been the new thing for the pass 5 years between the police and the public. It was always relevant but now we have phone cameras and bystanders recording events and police officers’ body camera recordings as well. Which brings me to the next topic of body cameras. I will discuss the importance of police body cameras, why they were created, how they function, where they should be positioned or where most officers position their cameras, the way officers need to use them and the benefits of cameras. Then I will discuss police encounters with the public that leads to a positive situation. I will expand on how it brings more safety to the police officers and the public when encounters are positive and understanding.  

Following the interactions with the public, this is where most of my papers will expand. It will speak about the interactions with the public and police and hopefully help bring the gap together of people on the outside of the police and the police that are so far inside of their own bubble or discourse that they cannot see the outside world and what is really happening. Communication is another huge vocal point to be discussed from the article, words are mightier than the sword which goes into details about how to impact a situation more with your words and kindness and wisdom than physically using force against someone. In this part of the essay, it will touch on not only the way police should speak and handle things but the use of force incidents and how it connects with the de-escalation tactics. The training that comes with the de-escalation will be introduced in an article that I have found online. Next, I will speak about the emotional affects that officers face daily and how interactions with the public will affected also. If a police officer is mentally having issues and is unhealthy mentally then his work will be affected, and it could lead to terrible situations happening. As a police officer, they are expected to uphold a positive attitude and professionalism the entire shift and anytime they are communicated with someone but as a human if we are upset about something it’s not always easy to mask it. This subject brings the next topic, which is stress levels police officers go through, which brings up depression, anxiety, and highs stress and the causes of this stress. The causes of this stress according to the article “Positive and Negative Emotion Prospectively Predict Trajectories of Resilience and Distress Among High-Exposure Police Officers” are long hours on duty without sleep, danger, threat to the lives of police officers or colleagues. This stress brings officers to dealing with it in unhealthy ways such as drinking, using drugs, and showing the emotion towards family members. After years and years of the same stress from work and being in dangerous situations will weigh on anyone but officers are in a tough position and test results show it. Most officers need intervention to help them deal with stress and other trauma.  

The fields that connect with these topics are communication studies, Criminology, Psychology, English education, Criminal Justice departments. These fields all have something to do with police work and the literacy of officers. For example, the psychology field would deal with a cognitive approach to how officers think. The Criminal Justice field is the home of all policework and where it is the origin. It brings the rules and guidelines officers must follow along with other public service fields. English Education fields beings the learning of reading and writing to the surface. Without the learning of English, officers would not be able to communicate the proper way which brings me to the last field listed, which is communications. Communications is tied to police literacy because officers must communicate daily and with better communication, we can be safer and effective out in public. Communication connects with every topic being discussed in this essay such as de-escalation, speaking to victims, speaking with co-workers, interviewing suspects and more. These research questions will be my guide to writing my research essay. It will be in a more chronological order showing how each topic affects and lead to the next to give a better understanding of police literacy.  

Annotated Bibliography

Kwon, Gyu H., Tonya L. Smith-Jackson, and Charles W. Bostian. “Redefining interoperability: Understanding police communication task environments.” Symposium on Human Interface. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2009.  

The main point of this article is to explain the importance of communicating not only by yourself but in a group setting, especially when unexpected circumstances take place. It addresses the 9/11 incident as a refence to the importance of using radio communications and the understanding that they need to become better for future scenarios. This source is related to my essay because I will be addressing the question as to why radio communication is important, and this article uses many reasons why. This is a scholarly article.  

“Reading People: Behavioral Anomalies and Investigative Interviewing | FBI: Law Enforcement Bulletin.” FBI: Law Enforcement Bulletin, 2014,  

This article discusses the body language of criminals showing indicators, particularly during an interview. Physical appearances can change along with verbal. In this research article they included terms such as validated and invalidated indicators. This topic is related to my article because it addresses the research question “how does officers read the body language of individuals.” This is a tactic law enforcement officer uses daily for safety, to determine if a person is being truthful and many other reasons. This is a non-scholar article. This is an academic article.  

“Police Communication Skills Matter More than Ever: Here’s Why.” University of San Diego, 9 Aug. 2019,  

This article explains steps to communicate that leads to a positive encounter with the police. He explains what good police communication is, the 80-20 rules and other strategies. It teaches not only the police but the public what officers should be doing if they are interacting with you. It discusses how to communicate with someone that speaks another language and how communication is key to De-Escalation Strategies. This article will be evidence of my research question of how de-escalation tactics will lead to less use of force incidents. This is an academic article. 

Cotugno, Marianne. “Writing Skills: Hiring and Training Police Officers.”, 

This article’s main point was to acknowledge the importance of writing skills. In the article it used surveys and asked Ohio law enforcement officers if they believed learning writing skills would benefit them personally and if having exceptional writing skills correlates to the department being organized and able to carry out the mission of police work. The article mentioned the quality of writing, discussed if officers were continuing to be trained after being hired and other details about writing. This is a magazine article, and this applies to my essay because I will use this to express the level of writing officers’ needs and the frequency, they must use it. 

US Department of Justice. “First Response to Victims of Crime.” Https://Ovc.Ojp.Gov/, July 2010, 

The main point of this article is to give tips on what officers should do when responding to a victim of crime. For their protection and to make them feel safe. It states what tendencies victims have such expressing their emotions about the incident they just encountered and may just need a listener. This article is relevant to my essay because I will be discussing the communication methods officers use with victims. This is a scholarly article.  

 Miller, Lindsay, Jessica Toliver, and Police Executive Research Forum. 2014. Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program: Recommendations and Lessons Learned. Washington, DC: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. 

 The main point of this article was to discuss the benefits of police having body cameras, what the purpose or considerations of having them such as when to record, consent to record, and the most popular placement of body cam technology. This article will be beneficial to my essay, discovering how body cameras were introduced and the learning required by officers before using the devices. It will also discuss the reasons officers needed the camera. This is a scholarly article. 

 Rosenfeld, Richard, Thaddeus L. Johnson, and Richard Wright. “Are college-educated police officers different? A study of stops, searches, and arrests.” Criminal Justice Policy Review 31.2 (2020): 206-236.  

This article shows data about officers who went to college and the ones that did not and doesn’t show too much information about it, being different according to data. The area where it changes is the promotional aspect. The higher a police officer wants to go up the chain is a greater chance they have some college education which is very good because that shows who’s training and supervising the lower ranked patrol officers. This is a scholarly article  

 Bayley, David H., and Egon Bittner. “Learning the skills of policing.” Law & Contemp. Probs. 47 (1984): 35. Learning the Skills of Policing (  

The main point of this article addresses that experience in policing is much more valuable and helps you become more prepared rather than anything else. Listening to others about there opinions of police is not close to being correct because even officers inform us that you will never know what is it like to be in the shoes of a police officer unless you are one. This is an academic article from google scholar. This will be discussed in my essay as it relates to the learning that comes with being a police officer. The body camera’s officers have been wearing is holding them accountable for their actions.  

Zaiser, Benjamin, and Mario S. Staller. “The Word is Sometimes Mightier Than the Sword: Rethinking Communication Skills to Enhance Officer Safety.” Journal of Law Enforcement 4.5 (2015).  Microsoft Word – The word TUESDAY Final.docx ( 

This article introduces several points on how communication can be the difference between a good encounter with individuals and a bad encounter. It introduces some training suggestions that have been proven through research to help benefit problems on duty. It specifies on De-Escalation heavy. This article uses the word transactional engagement and how officers may treat civilians in situations. This article is relevant to my paper because in my paper I will discuss the communication literacy of police officers. This is a scholarly article found on Google Scholar.  

Huff, Jessica, Charles M. Katz, and Vincent J. Webb. “Understanding police officer resistance to body-worn cameras.” Policing: An International Journal (2018).  

This article discusses why body cameras on police officers are important, why they were starting to be used and how the officers and public responded to them. Some officers did not respond well to cameras while many others were for the cameras. According to the article, they used known situations that occurred in the world such as the shooting of Tamir Rice, Michael Brown shooting and many other pivotal events that prompted for accountability. It showed that if the police had cameras, then those situations would have been viewable and not just one sided by someone’s wording. This is a scholarly article.  

Ireland, Matt, John M. Malouff, and Brian Byrne. “The efficacy of written emotional expression in the reduction of psychological distress in police officers.” International Journal of Police Science & Management 9.4 (2007): 303-311. 

In this article is discusses the emotions officers can go through from seeing traumatic events. It also showed how when officers go through interventions with higher stress, anxiety, and depression and once the intervention/testing is over they will have lower levels of all categories. It just shows that officers’ mental health is important and needs to be evaluated with tests and other assessments to keep them healthy. This will be researched more and added to my research to show how it connects the behavior with how officers who are mentally unstable communicate with civilians differently. This is a Scholarly article.  

 Galatzer-Levy, Isaac R., et al. “Positive and negative emotion prospectively predict trajectories of resilience and distress among high-exposure police officers.” Emotion 13.3 (2013): 545. 

This article describes stats focused on potential traumatic events officers may be subjected to such as the threat of injury or death to them or their family or colleagues. Also, stressors such as long work hours, discrimination, and inadequate resources. Some of these issues result in depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse, aggressive behavior, and increased rates of cardiovascular disorders. This relates to my essay because it will also connect with the behavior of officers. This is an academic article.  


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Understanding Literacy in Our Lives by Anonymous English 102 Writer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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