In the Dynamic of Discretion, we identified the Five Types of Offenders. In this series on the Dynamic of Compliance, we look at how to overcome challenges to lawful authority by answering some basic questions.
The fundamental goal of law enforcement is to generate voluntary compliance with the law. Each of the Five Types of Offenders will respond to your authority slightly differently depending on how you answer a basic set of questions. Even if they don’t vocalize it, they are likely asking it.
The late Dr. George Thompson, founder of Verbal Judo, was instrumental in helping me formulate this Dynamic. Many thanks go to him for his influence on me, Police Dynamics, and law enforcement officers throughout the world.
Simple Offenders need an Education. They want to know the answer to the question “What?” as in “What do you want me to do?” They are generally not much of a challenge to law enforcement because they will typically comply if you simply tell them what you want them to do and then ask them to do it.
Silly Offenders are more of a challenge. They will rarely comply on the first request. They need an Explanation. They want to know “Why?” “Why should I have to comply?” “Why do I have to listen to you?” This is where many police officers and corrections officials make a crucial mistake. They answer something like, “Because I said so, that’s why!” And they just blew it! They turned a routine challenge to authority into an ego battle, and they may very well have to resort to physical force before it’s all over. That response doesn’t even work well at home! Do you expect it to work well on the streets?
The professional law officer has learned to put his ego aside and appeal to a higher authority. In other words, it has nothing to do with what I say. It has to do with what the law says, or what the policy says. By setting your ego aside, appealing to a higher authority, and answering the question “Why?” effectively, I believe you can generate voluntary compliance with the vast majority of individuals you deal with. In the next session, we will examine the Sensual Offender and learn how to answer the question, “What’s in it for me…?”