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Teaching by storytelling

I was in Portland, Oregon recently, teaching my “Safe at Home” off duty survival class to a room full of high-speed narcotics cops. Addressing a bit of an intimidating audience, I knew I had to grab their attention right from the beginning, and I had to hold it for nearly four hours, so I decided to tell them some stories.

Whether you’re in the classroom, in roll call, or in a squad car sitting next to a new rookie, storytelling is an excellent method of training. If you’re a field training officer, a couple of well-placed stories during those “teachable moments” on shift can make a great impact on your recruit. As a supervisor or manager who conducts a roll call or shift briefing each day, you can use stories to present messages on officer survival, leadership, ethics, or service to the community. As a police trainer, storytelling is an invaluable tool in the classroom. And there is no better way to honor our fallen and our injured than to tell their stories.

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