How you develop and employ your conflict
resolution skills depends heavily on your own
personality.  I worked for many years with an officer
who I wouldn't describe as having a very thoughtful
attitude toward others in conflict, but his method
for resolving conflicts was highly successful.  This
officer's voice was deep, loud, and commanding.  No
one could ever shout over him, and he wasn't even
shouting.  He wasn't an overbearing physical
presence; although, he was fully capable of backing
up his commands with physical force.  In fact, he
rarely had to use any type of physical force.  Having
watched him perform many times, I was always
amazed how quickly he could gain total dominance
over people in conflict.  I finally came to the
conclusion that the secret to his success was the
utter self-confidence he exuded when he exercised
that dominance.  As successful as this officer was at
resolving conflicts, his method resulted in a lot of
stress for his sergeant after the fact.  I never
worked with an officer who received so many
supervisor's complaints.  While the complaints were
numerous and aggravating for the sergeant, they
were never serious... "mean" was usually the
operative word describing the officer's attitude.

While this officer's method of conflict resolution
worked well for him, it still had a built in and regular
negative side effect.  You must also remember that
what works for one will not work for all.  For
instance, you'll see police officers who'll attempt this
dominance model with little, if any, success.  
Indeed, you'll work with officers who'll create more
turmoil than they prevent.

As a police officer, you must always dominate in
every conflict.  How you achieve your domination
will go a long way in limiting stress on everyone...
including yourself.  Starting with listening is a safe
and sure way to begin.
As a police officer, you'll be spending a lot of your
time trying to deal reasonably with unreasonable
people.  It's not an easy thing to do at anytime
throughout your police career, so think about how
stressful it's going to be in the beginning when
you'll probably have very little experience in dealing
with simple conflicts let alone potentially dangerous

During your academy and field training, you'll be
exposed to conflict scenarios and real conflicts
respectively.  However, the first will be classroom
controlled, and the latter will be controlled, to
whatever extent possible, by your Field Training
Officer.  Then, the day will come when you'll be all
alone and presented with your own conflict for
resolution.  You'll learn quickly that human conflicts
will have similarities among them along with their
own unique aspects.  Each and every conflict you
encounter will be a learning experience for you.  
Conflict resolution will always be a stressful
experience for you, so what you learn from each of
those experiences will go a long way toward your
ability to understand, control and reduce stress on

You simply can't imagine how many different types
of conflicts you're going to encounter as a police
officer, but let's take a look at one type of conflict
you'll encounter frequently... the domestic
disturbance.  Unlike the psychologist or psychiatrist
who counsels troubled domestic partners or family
members in a mutually agreed session in a neutral
and controlled setting, you'll begin your counseling
sessions at the high point of heated arguments in
the environments where the arguments begin.

You do have one distinct advantage over the
doctors.  You have handcuffs and the power to use
them; however, whenever possible, you should
employ the same primary tool used by the
professional mental health counselor... listening.  
Quite often, your mere presence will provide the
controlling factor in a previously uncontrolled
environment, and your thoughtful attention and
directions can allow the argument to de-escalate to
a manageable level.
"How you develop and employ your conflict
resolution skills depends heavily on your own
personality." ~ Barry M. Baker
I always have fun with this one.  Whenever I refer
to conflict resolution, there's usually a little sarcasm
present; because, when conflict resolution is
associated with police officers, it always manifests in
its most politically correct form.  In other words,
your conflict resolution skills should always trump
your need to use force to resolve conflicts.  This is,
of course, a naive view which will be conveyed to
you often by people who have little, or no, real
world experience in resolving conflicts which can
pose potentially dangerous and immediate
Copyright © 2019  Barry M. Baker