Course Description

Surviving Verbal Conflict® training provides public safety professionals with time-tested communications skills proven to help de-escalate volatile situations and safeguard fellow officers' emotional and professional well-being. And, in the event that de-escalation proves impossible, the utilization of these techniques demonstrates service excellence on the part of the service provider.

Today’s increased service demands and scrutiny placed upon public safety professionals has resulted in the growing need to master verbal conflict management skills. When negative verbal encounters escalate to the point where physical intervention is required, criticism often abounds when it is later discovered that there is little evidence of verbal de-escalation techniques employed by officers. This is particularly true when incident video and audio reviews are utilized. In some cases, it has become clear that the verbal actions of the first responders actually served to escalate the situation. Administrators are now asking, "have we adequately trained our personnel to successfully manage and respond to verbal confrontations in a professional manner?"

Course Objectives:

  • Improve public safety professionals' verbal communication skills.
  • Defuse potentially volatile verbal encounters: Combining Aristotle’s “Rhetorical Perspective” and Chief Dolan’s “Rhetorical Continuum” helps to persuade citizens to comply with requests (Using speech to persuade).
  • Develop skills to “Deflect & Redirect Verbal Abuse” and not create jeopardy.
  • Identify potential interpersonal cues predicting violence: “Pre-Attack Indicators.”
  • Appreciate the significance of non-verbal communication.
  • Understand why first-responders often fall victim to the "Rope-A-Dope Syndrome."
  • Recognize when “Officer Schitz-storm” appears on scene.
  • Practice "Verbal Contact & Cover" principles.
  • Apply the FAA's "Sterile Cockpit Rule" while on scene.
  • Understand the importance of "Chief Dolan's 24-Hour Rule" as a key component of communication success
  • Incorporate “Post-Incident Debriefing Fundamentals” after negative verbal encounters


CEO, Dolan Consulting Group

| Chief Harry Dolan (Ret.)

Harry P. Dolan is a 32-year police veteran who served as a Chief of Police since 1987. As one of the nation's most experienced police chiefs, he brings 25 years of public safety executive experience to Dolan Consulting Group. He retired in October 2012 as Chief of Police of the Raleigh (N.C.) Police Department, an agency comprised of nearly 900 employees in America's 42nd largest city.

Chief Dolan began his law enforcement career in 1980 as a deputy sheriff in Asheville, North Carolina and served there until early 1982, when he joined the Raleigh Police Department, where he served as a patrol officer. In 1987, he was appointed Chief of Police for the N.C. Department of Human Resources Police Department, located in Black Mountain. He served as Chief of Police in Lumberton, N.C. from 1992 until 1998, when he became Chief of Police of the Grand Rapids, Michigan Police Department. He served in that capacity for nearly ten years before becoming Chief of the Raleigh Police Department in September 2007. As Chief, he raised the bar at every organization and left each in a better position to both achieve and sustain success.

Harry Dolan has lectured throughout the United States and has trained thousands of public safety professionals in the fields of Leadership & Management, Communications Skills, and Community Policing. Past participants have consistently described Chief Dolan's presentations as career changing, characterized by his sense of humor and unique ability to maintain participants' interest throughout his training sessions. Chief Dolan's demonstrated ability to connect with his clientele and deliver insightful instruction all with uncompromising principles will be of tremendous value in the private sector.

Chief Dolan's unbridled passion to achieve service-excellence is a driving force behind Dolan Consulting Group. He is a graduate of Western Carolina University and holds a Master's Degree in Organizational Leadership and Management from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Before You Start

    • Consent Questions

  • 2


    • Verbal De-escalation Training: Surviving Verbal Conflict® | Hour 1

    • Verbal De-escalation Training: Surviving Verbal Conflict® | Hour 2