Tips on Dealing with Suspects

As an officer, safety (your own, that of bystanders, and that of suspects) always needs to remain your priority. The way that you speak to and deal with a potential suspect, regardless of their crime, can make a difference when it comes to their cooperation.  A cooperative suspect, of course poses far less of a threat.

  • Be nice – treat everyone with equal respect. That doesn’t mean you don’t use force as it is required, but after the issue has happened, speak calmly, and explain why you took that action. It will make the suspect relax far more quickly and help prevent further combative situations.
  • Give second chances – after force has had to be used against a suspect, don’t hold a grudge. Of course, act to prevent another situation and anticipate that it could occur. But don’t handle them as though it will indefinitely happen again. Someone with no arrest history that ran with you, may have done so out of fear. Once you have them detained, don’t handle them aggressively; just be assertive.
  • Give choices – ask a suspect to comply with a request rather than commanding them to do it. Give them options as to whether they’d like to take the cooperative route or not when you need them to act. Demanding will automatically make them less cooperative.


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