LAW ENFORCEMENT MUST LEARN
TO COMMUNICATE IN CRISES
SEATTLE, Wash. -- Unlawful actions and misconduct by rogue police officers are
creating a serious negative image for law enforcement and a significant and unbudgeted
financial expense for the governments they serve. For years, police who protect and serve
were held in the highest regard by the public. However, because of social media and the
Internet a negative story about police misconduct today instantly becomes national news
across the country and throughout the world.
The misdeeds of a few can become a catalyst for disruptive and even violent protests and
demonstrations. Every city, county, state and federal law enforcement agency is vulnerable
to a crisis. These crises are exacerbated when those in charge fail to promptly and properly
communicate to the media and public.
Unfortunately, most are not prepared when a crisis strikes according to Rene A. Henry,
author of Communicating In A Crisis. “Too many in charge are in denial that they will ever
have a crisis and the way so many have been mishandled is damaging the credibility and
reputation of all police and causing the general public to lose confidence and trust in all law
enforcement,” says Henry. “A law enforcement agency that is prepared will be prepared and
have plans for all anticipated and generic crises.”
Henry’s book tells how to prepare and organize a crisis team, how to identify and develop a
plan for every potential crisis, the 10 steps to take during a crisis, and how to manage
communications. “What is said, how it is said, when it is said and who says it is critical in a
crisis,” Henry adds. “Timing is critical and when potential crises are identified generic news
releases can be prepared in advance so there can be an immediate response. The longer
the delay in respondin the less believable it will be. Potential spokespersons must be
identified and given media training.”
He believes it is important to understand the philosophy of Saul Alinsky, a proponent of non-
violent disruption, in order to anticipate, be prepared and manage protests and
demonstrations. “Alinsky’s writings are a step-by-step how to for protesters,” he says.
Scores of anecdotes and case histories from actual crises highlight his recommended dos
and don’ts for the reader. His book also outlines working relationships between lawyers and
public relations counselors before and during crises.
In addition to police misconduct, Henry cites five generic crises: terrorism; acts of Mother
Nature including earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and tornados; sexual harassment and
discrimination; violence in the workplace; and environmental pollution. A chapter on
customer service stresses its importance in helping prevent crises. “Trust, credibility and
goodwill must be banked in advance and there must be transparency to have public
support,” he says. Another chapter tells the reader how to fight back and win in situations
when officers and a department have been wronged or maligned.
The book is recommended for all police chiefs, and senior management, public relations
practitioners and lawyers in law enforcement agencies. Communicating In A Crisis sells for
$34.95 in paperback from Amazon.com and $9.95 on Kindle. Henry has authored 10 books,
and writes of a variety of subjects, many of which are posted on his website - www.
Selected Op/Eds and Commentaries
To access any of the following click on the headline ...
Law Enforcement Must Communicate In Crises - published by Huntington News Network,
October 1, 2017
Unlawful actions and misconduct by rogue police officers are creating a serious negative image for law
enforcement and a significant and unbudgeted financial expense for the governments they serve. For
years, police who protect and serve were held in the highest regard by the public. However, because of
social media and the Internet a negative story about police misconduct today instantly becomes national
news across the country and throughout the world.
SEC and Congress Knew About Porno Problems November 2008, published by Huntington News Network,
May 1, 2008
The furor in the news about senior employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission watching pornography
instead of doing their jobs is not new news. It was first disclosed in the semi-annual SEC Inspector General's
September 2008 report to Congress that was made public the day after Thanksgiving. ...
Government Spokesmen Are Paid to Speak, published by O'Dwyers Public Relations News, April 30, 2008
Government spokespeople have an obligation to the taxpaying public to speak to the media when asked to do so. ..
Coal Mine PR Spinning U.S. Public, Congress, published by odwyerpr.com, April 14, 2010
Big Coal has done a PR job keeping regulatory, oversight and enforcement agencies weak and safety standards
below expectations. ...
Will People Ever Trust Banks Again?, Published by Huntington News Network September 28, odwyerpr.com
September 29, and Caribbean Net News, September 30, 2009
Banking once was a trusted and respected business. Even after the multitude of bank failures during the Great
Depression of the 1930s and the savings and loan crises of the 1980s and 1990s, bankers were the pillars of their
local communities. What banking and financial institutions need today is a modern-day George Bailey, the role
played by Jimmy Stewart in the 1946 movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” He had the respect and trust ...
CEOs, PR Disconnect: 'Old school' vs. 'Don't Call Us, We'll Call You' -- Maybe, published January 24 by www.
odwyerpr.com and January 31 by Huntington News Network (click on each publication to access article)
As an author and writer, I get some of my best material from personal experiences. Today we have a new breed of
CEOs in Corporate America to whom I like to direct questions to see how they and their gate guardians respond.
That is, if they have the business acumen to even respond.
Why Can't Corporate America Tell the Truth?, published by Huntington News Network, September 7, 2008,
In the past decade, Corporate America has had far too many crises and scandals. As a result, thousands of
employees, shareholders, customers, vendors and others were impacted and a number of former CEOs and senior
executives are spending their time in prisons instead of board rooms. . . .
Know Your Opposition - When your company, organization or client is in an adversarial position, or anticipating
being in one, be sure you get to know everything you possibly can about your opposition. Only when you do, will
you be prepared to strategically implement your crisis communications plan. ...
Corporate America: It's Time to Listen; 'What We Have Here Is Failure to Communicate', published by
Huntington News Network, January 27, 2007
Harry S Truman said it best: "The buck stops here." And, during the 1980s, Britain's Lord Taylor, with the same
philosophy, established a model for customer service and communication by a CEO. ...
Hold AIG and All Bailout Firms to Federal Pay Scales, published by Huntington News Network, March 19, 2009
While Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) may have used several inappropriate words to criticize the $165 million in
bonuses given AIG management, he certainly reflected the anger and resentment of the American public over the
company rewarding employees for greed, mismanagement, incompetency and just plain stupidity. ...
Higher Education Needs to Get Itself Squared Away - This is a two-part series for Huntington News Network that
looked at the problems in higher education today and what presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities
and their governing boards need to do to make higher education accessible for everyone. The articles look at
problems of rising tuition and fees, the workload of faculty members and where CEOs need to take action.
Part 1 - Another Financial Crisis For Higher Education, February 17, 2009
Part 2 - Football Can Be A Key to Balancing Budgets, February 18, 2009