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Emotional Intelligence on patrol

February 6, 2010

Filed under: Coaching — admin @ 3:12 pm

To be a good police officer, you need a pretty high level of emotional intelligence. EI takes in a lot of territory on the psychological development scale, but a personal incident this past week will give you an idea what I’m talking about.

My wife and I left for a short appointment in the early evening. We backed out of the driveway just as last bits of light left the sky and coincidentally another band of rain showers moved overhead.

While we were out, the rain became a torrent and it was still raining heavily as we turned  into our street to pull back into the driveway. Unfortunately there was no entrance. A neighbor had parked his car across the front of the driveway.

After dropping my wife off, I parked halfway down the block and trudged over to my neighbor’s house, ready to hear his excuse for being so stupid. After all, he’s lived on the street for three years.

There was no answer and after a few expletives I went home and called the police. When the patrol officer arrived, he checked the registration, confirmed the car belonged to my neighbor and retraced my steps to the owner’s front door.

His result was the same and he returned to my front porch saying,”I can do whatever you want, we can tow it, I can put a ticket on it, or perhaps, I can just come back in a few hours and if it’s still there, I’ll give him a ticket then, the choice is yours.” Then the officer added, “He is your neighbor after all, and while it’s pretty stupid, you’re both still gonna be living on the street.”

While my wife lobbied for the ‘tow it now’ approach, I picked door number three – patience. Sure enough, a few hours later, the rain stopped and I heard my neighbor, a young man of about 30, moving his car.

When I went out to move my car back into the driveway he approached to apologize adding, “I don’t know what I was thinking, it was raining, I just saw a parking spot and was focused on getting in the house.”

I just mumbled something about how incredulous I was and the incident was over.

My point is, I was considering only two options – tow or ticket – but the officer had enough emotional intelligence training, or perhaps it came naturally, to suggest option C, which, in the long run, allowed  for long term neighborhood peace.

Figuring out option C, is why many people hire personal coaches.

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