Tactical Empathy: Getting inside the criminal mind

April 28, 2009

PrintCommentRegisterBookmarkRSSWhat's This

Gary T. Klugiewicz Klugie's Correctional Corner
with Gary T. Klugiewicz

Tip: Tactical Empathy: Getting inside the criminal mind

Related Article:
Showtime! The impact of how you say what you say, and do what you do

I have often heard officers - both street and correctional - make the comment that it is not necessarily important to know what the person they are dealing with is thinking or motivated by.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Getting inside a criminal’s head is one of the most important tactical advantages that you can develop.
Dr. Thompson, from the Verbal Judo Institute refers to this intelligence gathering function as Tactical Empathy:

(AP photo)

Tactical Empathy refers to the active intelligence gathering of a professional investigator who is attempting to learn what a person is thinking in an attempt to learn how to generate his/her voluntary compliance, cooperation, and collaboration.

Developing Tactical Empathy not only allows an officer to remain physically safer from a possible assault, but also allows them to potentially control an individual’s behavior through understanding what motivates them.

The Greed Principle, another of Dr. Thompson’s concepts, explains that “if someone has something to gain or lose then you have something to use.”

The more you know about someone the more power you have. This is especially true for a corrections officer who is likely to spend extended time with an inmate in custody. The more you know, the less chance that you will be surprised by what the inmate does. Surprises are seldom pleasant in our environment.


About the author

Gary T. Klugiewicz is retired from the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department where he served three tours of duty "inside the walls" as a Correctional Officer, Deputy, Sergeant, and Captain. Gary has served as a Shift Supervisor, A CERT Team Commander, and a Special Management Team Security Supervisor for mentally ill inmates. Gary has developed defensive tactics training programs for Police, Corrections, Mental Health, and Tactical Teams. He is an instructor trainer for the State of Wisconsin’s correctional Principles of Subject Control (POSC®) Program, the ACMi® Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT®) Program, the Active Countermeasures (Dynamic Entry Training) Program for SWAT Personnel, and the lead instructor for Verbal Judo's Tactical Communication for the Correctional Professional training program. Contact Gary Klugiewicz

PoliceOne Columnists:

PoliceOne's team of expert writers provides our readers with valuable insight from both on-the-job and classroom experience.

To submit articles or become a columnist click here and include your background/CV and a sample of your writing.

All Columnists

PoliceOne Newsletter

Subscribe Now

Today's Top Stories

Sunday, February 1, 2015
All of Today's News

Discuss The News

PoliceOne News and Current Events Forum More Forums

Officer Down

All Officer Downs Submit an Officer Down

Featured Columnist

Duane Wolfe
The Warrior's Path
with Duane Wolfe