About This Course

In this turbulent time, politicians and community leaders are calling for policies moving away from sending armed law enforcement officers to various calls for service. There are promises being made that social workers or mental health professionals will be sent rather than police officers. But where will we find these social workers? Where will we find these mental health professionals? Is it possible that, inevitably, the bulk of these policy shifts will impact the fire service?

Now, more than ever, members of the fire service need to equipped with de-escalation skills when responding to potentially dangerous situations. In this two-hour webinar, Chief Harry P. Dolan (Ret.) will discuss the fundamentals of verbal de-escalation in a training that is geared specifically to fire service professionals.

Surviving Verbal Conflict® training provides public safety first responders with time-tested communications skills proven to help de-escalate volatile situations, safeguard fellow public safety professionals' 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-first responders 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 our first responders. 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. Public Safety 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 emergency first-responders 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 emergency first-responders often fall victim to the "Rope-A-Dope Syndrome."
  • Recognize when “First-Responder 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.