skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 229567 Find in a Library
Title: IMPACT Principles: A Model of Interpersonal Communication for Law Enforcement
Journal: The Police Chief  Volume:76  Issue:12  Dated:December 2009  Pages:86,88,90,92,95
Author(s): Brian D. Fitch Ph.D.; Randolph Means
Date Published: December 2009
Page Count: 5
Type: Instructional Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article presents the IMPACT model of interpersonal communication for law enforcement officers' interactions with the public.
Abstract: The more skilled officers are at interacting with the public and, in many cases, reducing emotional tension, the less likely they are to trigger complaints or lawsuits, thus enhancing their effectiveness. The IMPACT model of interpersonal communication features six principles that can be applied to virtually any type of law enforcement contact. The six principles are represented in the letters of "IMPACT." "I" refers to the principle of "Identifying and managing" emotions. This involves acknowledging another person's concerns and feelings and then asking questions that guide the other person in reflecting on what they are saying. "M" emphasizes the principle of "Mastering what the other person is saying" and viewing the situation from his/her perspective. This requires officers to suspend their initial assumptions, ask questions, and listen carefully to the person's answers, which can help to explain the person's problematic behaviors. "P" reflects the principle of "Promoting positive behavior." This involves understanding why a person acted as they did and then suggesting a more positive behavior that would have avoided the behavior at issue in the contact. "A" stands for "Achieving rapport" with the other person. This includes avoiding argument, not criticizing the other person, and making the other person feel important and significant. "C" focuses on the need to "Control your response." This means avoiding inflammatory language, providing calm guidance, and acknowledging why the other person is upset and frustrated. "T" involves "Taking perspective." Officers regularly contact diverse individuals very different from themselves in terms of world view, education, emotional maturity, and cultural upbringing. Officers must be trained to recognize such differences and prepare to enter, understand, and provide guidance from within the other person's perspective.
Main Term(s): Police-citizen interactions
Index Term(s): Communication techniques; Effective communications training; Police community relations; Police human relations training
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.