Emotional Intelligence in Policing

In any policing controversy—excessive use of force, racial profiling, police suicide, discourtesy—separating human emotions from that controversy’s cause is difficult. An officer’s emotional intelligence—whether the lack of emotional awareness or the inability to control emotions—will emerge. There can be no escaping one’s emotions; indeed, if repressed, they cause even more problems. This is of particular concern to law enforcement, due to the myth that an officer should grin and bear emotional crises and shake them off at the end of the shift.

That myth has been contradicted by research, which has uncovered a much different reality. Contemporary psychological research shows that the strong, silent type (typical of many police officers) cannot suppress human emotions without suffering serious consequences. Emotional intelligence is just as serious in training.