We don’t yet have a vaccine for COVID-19, but there is an antidote for mistrust and misunderstandings in the justice system. What if we could improve the quality of communications between police officers and others in positions of authority — and those over whom they exercise it?
Progress requires a communications paradigm that is courteous and reinforces trust, thereby achieving the desired result through motivation rather than force. Evidence suggests this will translate into positive outcomes, whether it is greater cooperation with police or reduced criminal activity.
Communications between those in authority and those they speak with occur both in the context of initial and serial encounters. When police come upon suspects or a probation officer first meets the person they will be supervising, it is usually a conversation between two strangers. This is the focus of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book “Talking to Strangers.”
The book was inspired by