and when and where the behavior takes place. Understand your own prejudices and experiences
and how they can affect your responses. If, for instance, you have children, you might have a
strong reaction to an accused child molester; however, we must be professional enough to not allow
our personal feelings to get in the way of our official duties. Make careful observation of a person's
visible behavior to become aware of the various types of behavior.
2. Body language is a silent communication that physically expresses one's emotional moods
and reactions, often without one's awareness. Body language consists of four elements that work
together to create an overall expression: facial expressions, gestures, body positions, and body
a. Facial expressions such as smiles, frowns, lips tightly pressed together and blinking eyes.
b. Gestures such as tapping fingers, clenching fists, and wringing hands.
c. Body positions which may include hugging self, crossing arms, and standing with feet
braced or continually shifting weight from one foot to the other (fighting stance).
d. Body distance. For instance, entering another's body space with a jabbing finger or by
standing very close while speaking.
3. Nonverbal communication may be part of a nonverbal statement. On the other hand, it may
be symbolic of nothing at all. Be careful about placing too much emphasis on the hidden meaning
of a nonverbal action unless you can eliminate the possibility that it is simply a natural body
reaction. Do not allow habits to dull your sight, distracters to divert your attention, or prejudice to
dull your perception. Observe carefully and interpret accurately in order to see results.
4. Observe for behavior that expresses attitude and emotions. This is important to help
determine if the detainee is acting normally or to help detect a change in his normal demeanor that
could possibly be the beginning of trouble and/or problems. These may be shown through:
a. Hurt, which can be expressed by embarrassment, withdrawn attitude, a show of grief, or
b. Anger, which can be shown by aggression; hostility, sarcasm, loud or abusive language;
lack of cooperation; a stiff, stony face; a show of resentment; and/or frustration.
c. Fear, which can be shown by sweating, sickness, running away, freezing in place,
nervousness, inability to cooperate physically or mentally, excessive cooperation, and/or
d. Concern (empathy), which can be shown by offering aid and comfort by word or deed;
by listening; and by exhibiting other similar acts of caring.
5. Another element of communication that is often overlooked is the skill of listening. Do not
try to dominate the conversation, but listen for new information.