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The Communication Process Beth Dillman 12/18/11 Erin Kirkpatrick CJA 304

If one were to sit and watch an ant hill one would see nothing more than an insect. Common pests that are the picture of everyone's ruined picnic. However, if one looks closely one will see a finely orchestrated attack. It is through means of communication that these seemingly small creatures can create such a big attack on a family outing. All creatures on the planet Earth communicate either by touch, chemical trails, visible signals, or vocalization. The communication process starts with an initial sender (For the sake of this paper the initial sender will be human). The person sending the communication wants to get a thought across to those whom they are trying to communicate with. This message can be verbal, written, or through other non-verbal methods such as body language or sign. The person who hears or sees the communication is called the receiver. The receiver interprets the message. The last step in the communication process is the step known as "feedback." This is where the receiver responds to the sender's communication. Though the process seems simple enough there are things that can hinder communication. There is the issues of interpretation. If the message is not clear, it can leave much up the imagination of the receiver. If there is high levels of noise surrounding verbal communication much can be lost due to the receiver not hearing what is being said. The other hindrance to verbal communication is whether or not the receiver is actually listening to what is being said during the process of communication itself. Here is a few of real life examples. Let's say that "John" sees his friend, but they are across a crowded room for each other. John holds his right hand to his ear and extends his thumb and pinky out to make hand look like a phone. He mouths the words "call me". John's friend then calls him. John's friend did not hear him verbally say call me, but the message was sent,

received by John's friend, processed and the out come was that John received a phone call. Another example of an unclear message would be John telling his friend to meet him at a restaurant, but not telling his friend which restaurant. It would be up to John's friend to try to find out which restaurant, what time, and what day. The message that John sent was not clear and made extra work for the receiver. Communication is not just spoken words. The receiver is also a vital part in communication. The receiver is also known as the listener. There is vast difference in the hearing of what is being said, and listening to what is being said. Actually listening to what is being said means that the receiver has first heard and secondly was able to process what was said. Hearing means that one has heard the "noise" but one has not processed it as valuable communication. A really great example is the husband and wife sitting on the couch on a Sunday afternoon watching a Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packer game. The husband can be so enthralled in the game that the wife may ask what he would like to have for dinner, she in turn may get no response. The husband just processed the wife's message as noise and tuned it out. The process of communication in this case can be frustrating for the sender. If the receiver heard what was said and processed it, the husband may have responded back with what he wanted for dinner as asked. In the criminal justice system there are informal and formal channels of communication. Formal communication as it pertains to criminal justice generally is in written form. These written messages are known as directives, memos, and forms. Formal communications can also be verbal and be in the form of direct orders, staff meetings, and protected channels on radios.

Informal communication can be as simple as gossip on the street, information that is passed along from an informant to an officer, and information that can be found from some types of investigations. Informal communication can be just as important as formal communication. Information that is passed to an officer from a drug dealer on the street about a supplier, might just be gossip. However the officer does have the duty of checking the information out, even if he/she is not for sure the information is true. Even though criminal justice professionals work hard to see that thoughts and ideas are sent in clear and precise manner, there are some barriers to communication. Firstly because criminal justice professionals are officers, judges, guards, etc. etc. each bring to the table different levels of learning and knowledge. This can effect the way that each communicate. Each person also may come from very different backgrounds. This changes the way each individual perceives the information that they hear and see on daily basis. The best strategy to this type of barrier is to keep all communication short, simple and direct. Verbal commands that have to many parts will not be followed the way the sender wants them to be carried out. This is due to the fact that some listeners will "shut down" and not remember all the steps. Written communications should also be handled in the same manner. Written communications that are too long, may not be fully read by officers. They then might miss important parts of the written directives. Another barrier is the language barrier. Criminal justice professionals in big cities may be exposed to many people with diverse backgrounds. With this diverse background comes diverse languages and cultures. If officers can not communicate with the people that they are serving and trying to protect, they are not of service at all. It also must be taken into consideration that words that too "big" or difficult

to understand can lead to people feeling put off, or make people feel as if an officer is talking down to them. There may also be times that officer encounter individuals who cannot be understood, and they must look at body language. An individual speaking a foreign language pointing a gun at an officer, probably is not saying "have a good day". The officers must interpret what this person is trying to say and what his body language is saying. Communication is a two way street. The message must be sent, the message must be received and the message must be returned. If there is a break down in any part of the communication highway, it can lead to catastrophic failure. In the criminal justice system failure is not an option that the public can afford. It is up to those in the criminal justice system to see that communication is as finely orchestrated as the ants in a summer's picnic.

References: Hirsch, J., Rahman, Insha., & Shah, S. (2007, September). Overcoming language barriers in the criminal justice system: can language assistant technology help?. Vera Institute of Justice Types of human communication. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.typesofcommunication.org