By Chief Harry P. Dolan (Ret.) & Richard R. Johnson, Ph. D.
In our Surviving Verbal Conflict® and Winning Back Your Community courses we caution law enforcement officers to avoid using what is called the ‘language of the street.’ The language of the street refers to profanity and other abrasive language often used by the criminal element in some neighborhoods. While most officers agree that using this language when communicating with the public is inappropriate, some officers (and even some supervisory personnel) have challenged us on this issue. These individuals argue that people in impoverished, high-crime areas tend not to understand any other type of language, and that using profanity and other coarse language is a way to establish authority when dealing with people in particular areas.