Effective Communication

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26 February 2016

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Effective communication between team members is a desire to have within all criminal justice organizations. Communication cannot only be done verbally; it can also be done nonverbally with the use of body language as well. Another major component in effective communication is having the ability to know the difference between listening and hearing. Even though effective communication is vital to the success of criminal justice organizations, there are many barriers to overcome such as: language barriers, communication involving semantics, and the ability to listen.

The Process of Verbal & Non-Verbal Communication and the Associated Components of Each There are two types of effective communication channels in the criminal justice field that are known as formal and informal channels. According to (www.businessdictionary.com), “A type of verbal presentation or document intended to share information and which conforms to established professional rules, standards and processes and avoids using slang terminology. The main types of formal communication within a business are downward where information moves from higher management to subordinate employees, upward where information moves from employees to management and horizontal where information is shared between peers.” In the criminal justice organization, the formal communication channel goes upwards within the chain of command based on the ranking system. The military is a perfect example because they are ran through a chain of command system where they are forced to utilize the formal communication channel. According to (www.ehow.com), “Formal channels of communication are within the hierarchy of the criminal justice field. The chain of command directs the formal channels of upward, downward, and horizontal communication through the levels of command.

The organization’s hierarchy establishes procedures related to communication within the levels of command. The directors dictate the means of communication and to whom each subordinate is to report. The hierarchy sets the structure and atmosphere through written policies and procedures.” An example of an informal channel of communication would be a conversation between two people at work about a particular individual and their work habits. There is no documentation of the entire conversation and it is not formal.

The Difference Between Listening & Hearing in Communication There are a few key differences between listening and hearing. When you actively listen you are able to comprehend what the person is saying and able to remember it along with giving an accurate response. The meaning of hearing is one of the five senses. According to (www.differencebetween.info), “Hearing is one of the five senses of a person and it is the ability to perceive sound by detecting vibrations through an organ such as the ear. According to Merriam-Webster, hearing is “the process, function, or power of perceiving sound; specifically: the special sense by which noises and tones are received as stimuli.” In hearing, vibrations are detected by the ear and then converted into nerve impulses and sent to the brain. A person who is unable to hear has a condition known as deafness.

Hearing occurs even in sleep, where the ear processes the sounds and passes them on to the brain, but the brain does not always react to the sound. Listening also known as ‘active listening’ is a technique used in communication, which requires a person to pay attention to the speaker and provide feedback. Listening is a step further than hearing, where after the brain receives the nerve impulses and deciphers it, it then sends feedback. Listening requires concentration, deriving meaning from the sound that is heard and reacting to it. Listening is a process of communication, where if the person is not listening it can cause a break in communication. Listening is defined by Merriam­-Webster as, “to hear something with thoughtful attention: give consideration.” When you are an active listener you are giving the speaker the upmost respect because it shows that you truly care about what they are saying. This is the best way to effectively communicate and it helps build the relationship between the two individuals who are engaging in conversation.

Criminal Justice Language Barriers & Solutions to Barriers
Just a few weeks ago a San Diego Naval Hospital bomb scare occurred due to a language barrier in communication. Nobody was able to understand two Spanish men that approached the gate to deliver a package. According to (www.sandiegoreader.com), “When questioned by the sentries on duty, a language barrier prompted uncertainty about the men’s intentions, specifically regarding a package in their possession. Notice went up through the chain of command, and orders came back to follow precautions used in case of a bomb threat. The gate was put on lockdown, and bomb-sniffing dogs were called in. Since the area immediately surrounding the gate lies outside Navy jurisdiction, a notice went out to police for assistance. The SDPD complied by setting up a blast perimeter, closing access to Florida and — according to an eyewitness — Pershing Drive north of 26th Street and south of Upas. No residential streets were affected by the closures.” Eventually a border patrol officer came to aid the Naval Police and translated the words of the two Spanish men. They were not a threat at all and were merely just delivering hospital items to the base. A solution to this problem must take place to avoid an issue like this happening again. A quick solution to this issue is to train all security personnel on navy bases so they can understand multiple languages and/or having personnel who already speak multiple languages guard the front gate. If all personnel were able to understand all languages then this problem will have never happened. A situation like this is an embarrassment and is also can fall into the lines of harassment if the two men wanted to press charges.

Business Dictionary. (2014, Jan 6). Formal Channels of Communication. Retrieved from http://www.businessdictionary.com Difference Between. (2013, December 12). Difference Between Hearing and Listening. Retrieved from http://www.differencebetween.info San Diego Reader. (January 2, 2014). Language Barrier Prompts Naval Hospital Bomb Scare. Retrieved from http://www.sandiegoreader.com eHow. (2014, Jan 10). Formal and Informal Channels of Communication. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com

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