Police Communication Skills Training at Fairfield University


Media Contact: Susan Cipollaro, scipollaro@fairfield.edu, 203-254-4000 ext. 2726

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (April 5, 2016) — Fairfield University professor, Diana Hulse, Ed.D, and retired police captain and recently appointed Distinguished Visiting Professional in Applied Ethics, Peter McDermott, are hosting a groundbreaking pilot program on interpersonal skills training for Connecticut police officers at Fairfield University from March 31st through April 16.

The purpose of this pilot program is to encourage police academies to include interpersonal skills education in their curriculum for recruit training. Skills covered in the pilot program have been modeled after required skills taught in counseling programs. Dr. Hulse and Captain McDermott have been focused on fundamental interpersonal skills training for police officers and since 2012, have combined their research and experience by creating workshops and information sessions for academic, police academy and community audiences on interpersonal, feedback and leadership skills, in an effort to respond to police training needs throughout Connecticut. 

Participants in the program include three sergeants and four officers from Wallingford, Newington, Bridgeport, Milford and Fairfield. Officers across the state of Connecticut were invited to participate. Joining Professor Hulse and Captain McDermott as trainers are adjunct faculty and licensed counselors, campus supervisors, alumni and current graduate students who are volunteering their time.

“Police officers need to be well versed in interpersonal skills and able to integrate those skills into all aspects of their work in our complex, multicultural and technological world,” said the two, emphasizing that communication is the cornerstone of effective police work. “Nothing in tech has ever replaced our ability to talk to a person, and it never will. You will never replace the need for talk in policing. It is time to emphasize it with training in the basics of interpersonal skills, giving officers the foundation to make an impact in their communities.”

During the program’s first session last Thursday, Captain McDermott explained that skills will be defined, taught, practiced and mastered. Participants will receive feedback on applying the skills and understand when to use them.

The manual used for the training sessions is Hulse and McDermott’s book, Policing in the 21st Century: Talk trumps technology, an innovative and instructional handbook which presents methods for teaching and evaluating core interpersonal skills to improve public trust, achieve public cooperation and “meet the basic goals of crime prevention and crime-free communities.”

Policing in the 21st Century: TALK trumps technology represents collaboration between Captain McDermott, with 47 years of experience in law enforcement and Professor Hulse, with 34 years of experience as a counselor educator in doctoral and master's programs in counselor education. They are the authors of published articles in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin and one in Counseling Today, the trade magazine for the American Counseling Association.

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Posted on April 5, 2016

Vol. 48, No. 113

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