How to get your kids to call when they need help


Editor’s Note: Every day on patrol, officers across the country have a positive affect on thousands of America’s children. And whether your “weekend” takes place on Saturday and Sunday or some other days throughout the week, many of us spend that off time striving to make our own kids safe and happy. Through their work with the Better Kids Institute, PoliceOne columnists Gary Klugiewicz and George Thompson have begun to provide us with articles designed to deliver critical information in the areas of Life Skills, Safety & Defense, Fitness & Wellness, Bullying / Active Shooter, Internet Online Security, and Child Predators.

This is a new resource for PoliceOne members who have kids of their own as well as any officer who has had friends, neighbors, or contacts on the street with problems related to children. Our aim is to give you information that will help you as you face challenges from the children, teenagers, and young adults you encounter every day.

On occasional weekends, we’ll post articles from Gary, George, and the Better Kids Institute so watch for those features, presented with the permission of the people at BKI, in the future.


There are a host of issues that can be addressed under the topic of Date Safety. I want to address one way that parents can deal with a child who finds him/herself in a bad place, possibly already in trouble, with the possibility of even worse things to happen. This could be a son or a daughter who is faced with difficult choices. One lifeline you develop could be how you deal with your child in these types of situation.

When our children were growing up my wife and I had a sit down with our teenagers at the kitchen table. It should be noted our kids were good kids, for the most part, but they got in their share of trouble – some of it relatively serious. What we said was this. We know that you are going to get into trouble. You are going to find yourself at places you shouldn’t be and doing things you shouldn’t be doing. We love you very much and your safety means everything to us. Therefore, you can call us at any time, from anywhere, and we will come and get you with no questions asked. PERIOD.

It should be noted that all three of our children took us up on our offer. We kept our promise not to pry – but we usually found out, eventually, what was going on. The bottom line is that we were able to keep our children safe from some potentially dangerous situations. It built trust and fostered love between us. Our children still call us, on occasion, and we still pick them up with no questions asked. On occasion, they have returned the favor with no questions asked as it should be.

About the author

Experience, expertise and communication skills are the criteria by which a defensive tactics instructor is judged. By these measures, Gary T. Klugiewicz is recognized as one of the nation's leading control systems analysts specializing in the Use of Force.

Gary is the training director for Vistelar (www.vistelar.com), a global consulting & training firm that addresses the entire spectrum of human conflict. His Verbal Defense & Influence (www.verbaldefenseandinfluence.com) training program is used worldwide in a variety of disciplines to teach non-escalation of conflict and reduce the need for de-escalation tactics. Gary specializes in transforming theory (“fire talks”) into reality (“fire drills”) through the use of Emotionally Safe Performance-Driven Instruction.

He retired from the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department in 2001 after 25 years of service, during which he rose to the rank of captain. As a former Street Survival® Seminar instructor and internationally known defensive tactics instructor, Gary’s training has impacted literally hundreds of thousands of officers.

Gary developed the Principles of Subject Control (P.O.S.C.®) for Correctional Personnel that have been adopted by the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Training & Standards Bureau and Wisconsin Department of Corrections for their correctional training programs. He has been instrumental in the development of Correctional Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) training programs throughout the United States. Gary has revolutionized crisis intervention training through the development of the “First Responder Point-of-Impact Crisis Intervention (PICI) Training Programs for Persons with Special Needs” training program. PICI focuses on keeping people safe through a system of time-tested crisis intervention tactics and the development of Special Needs Strategies.

Gary Klugiewicz has spent more than 30 years as a line officer, supervisor, and a control systems designer. He currently serves as a defensive tactics consultant for numerous police and correctional agencies throughout the United States.

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