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Radio Traffic Articulation


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  • Radio Traffic Articulation

    I had a question for a few of the rookies who have gone though what I'm currently dealing with and could give some helpful advice. Also, any advice from the veterans out here would be great as well.

    I'm currently in my 2nd phase of FTO and I'm where I need to be in almost every area with the exception of talking on the radio. I know the codes, signals, dispositions, etc... but for some reason when I key up the mic my mind goes blank and I forget what to say or half way through the transmission I get “ tongue tied”. Has this ever happen to you? My stress level is getting high because of this so I'm hoping someone on here has some useful suggestions. All my reviews state I'm getting better with radio articulation but they still indicate this is where I need the most improvement.

    Thanks for the replies.
    Last edited by TyFSU; 10-16-2009, 02:15 PM.

  • #2
    Keep transmissions short and sweet. Try saying your entire transmission in your head before keying up. Oh yeah and wait that 1 second after keying up so you don't get cut off.


    • #3
      The good news is that you are doing well in all other areas except for radio transmissions.....

      Like the other poster said, conveying the most amount of information in the shortest amount of time is ideal (don't read this to say speaking faster is better)....think about what you need to convey to the dispatcher, think about how you want to say it...then say it....

      before transmitting, take a few deep breaths if you are nervous...if you get tongue-tied during a transmission, key off, take a few more deep breaths and try it again...

      and think about this every time you key up...your FTO standing next to you probably went through the exact same thing as a rookie....keep at it and you'll be fine.....don't get nervous and don't be embarrassed if you say something stupid...we've all done it and we've all gotten crap for it and every time it happens it is usually a funny story a few weeks down the road....


      • #4
        Before becoming a cop I spent 14 years as a dispatcher, and I can tell you that we always looked forward to the rookies. I would like to make a few points.

        1- if your communicators are good ones, if you screw up telling them something they are going to already know what you mean. They may correct you, or confirm what you mean, but they know. Sure they dont know you...but they know your FTO and realize that if something bad is going down, the newby is not going to be on radio.

        2-FTO phase is there for a reason....to learn. The more you do it, the more you feel comfortable with it, and the easier it will come. One of the tricks that I have used training others is to have them get on the radio as much as possible. (ex. every car we get behind, call in the license plate for the experience) you can even practice it without picking up the mic.

        3- I dont know if it is part of your departments FTO program, but it will not hurt you to spend some time in communications, listening to others and getting pointers from your communicators. Since they are on the "other side" of the radio, they will be able to tell you if you are doing things that you may not be aware that you are doing (ex. clipping your transmissions, talking to close to the mic, talking to far away from the mic....etc). besides it never hurts to be on the good side of your communicators.

        Dont worry about screwing up because its gonna happen.
        Dont worry about people laughing at/because of you....cuz its gonna happen

        you wont be a rookie forever.....

        this is just my .02
        If you put bacon on bacon it actually makes bacon better


        • #5
          Practice Practice Practice. You never learned to ride a bike properly by watching others did you? No. Same goes for the radio. Think about what you are going to say first, keep it short, and you will be fine.


          • #6
            Thank you for the helpful advice. I've been listening to the radio on my days off to get a better idea on how others communicate over the radio but of course there are 100 different ways of doing things. I know talking over the radio is like learning a new language and when you know how to speak the language then it becomes alot easier. Once again thanks for the suggestions and encouragement.


            • #7
              Obviously everything within law enforcement is "fluid" and nothing is alike from incident to incident. That said. When I started out I tried to more or less "script" my radio traffic for different things. Much like I scripted what I said during traffic stops. Sure, there is always something different each time, but the underlying message was the exact same. This helped me get out what needed to without cluttering it. Over time it has gotten to the point where it flows.


              • #8
                Some very excellent advice here. Practice, practice, practice. You don't even need a radio just say it out loud when your off duty maybe driving around. See a car in front of you speak out loud how you would call in a stop on that car. Practice calling a pursuit of that vehicle as you drive around town. Practice, Practice, Practice, until it all becomes second nature to you.
                Today's Quote:

                "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
                Albert Einstein


                • #9
                  I remember on FTO when I was thinking about what I was going to say too much or pre planned the transmition I would get all tongue tied and mess up a lot. A lot of times if you just relax and say what is natural keep it short you will be fine. You can always make a 2nd transmition


                  • #10
                    Remember to keep it, short, sweet, and too the point. We had a couple of guys who seemed to be reading War and Peace on the radio, I was ready to slam my face into the steering wheel.
                    In Memory of A Fallen Hero


                    • #11
                      It will get easier, but none of us are immune from getting tounge tied. After about ten years on the job, I still lose my train of thought mid sentance from time to time and sound like a dumba55 on the radio. Don't sweat it, if it was a major problem, your fto would be all over you.


                      • #12
                        1.) Think about what your going to say.

                        2.) Take a deep breath.

                        3.) Say what your going to say, in it's correct broken up form.

                        Practice in your car on your way home and to work doing scenario's over the radio and how you'd call it out.



                        • #13
                          Rookie here.

                          I completely understand where you are coming from. At the beginning you are listening to radio traffic, and it seems so effortless, and then suddenly its your turn to talk and you realize you don't know what you are supposed to say!

                          My advice:

                          1. Practice. Call out traffic stops to yourself whenever you are in the car by yourself. Call out the license plates, your stop location, etc. When you are driving from one place to another, tell yourself outloud where you are goin, as if you were dispatched to a call there. Listen to the radio when you aren't working, so you hear how other people talk. Everyone has different styles and different ways of saying things, but they all get the general point across. This is what you have to do. Learn how to get your point across. As time wears on you will develop finesse and it won't be so awkward and scripted. For the time being, remember the KISS method: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

                          2. Keep transmissions short and to the point. If they need more detail from you, dispatch will ask for it. If you choke up in the middle of a transmission, take your hand off the mic and stop talking for a second, that way you don't send out a garbled stuttering message. Get your act together and then key back up. You can always say "standby" if you need a second to gather your thoughts.

                          3. Know in advance that you are going to say stupid stuff, and people are going to make fun of you for it. It is GOING to happen, so just accept that as part of the learning process. I made a goof WEEKS ago, and my team STILL makes fun of me on the radio about it. It is part of the fun of working on a team and having inside jokes is not a bad thing. It keeps the mood light. And, you are bound to hear someone else do something dumb, and then you get to return the favor!

                          As you get more comfortable talking on the radio you'll find that you choke up a lot less. But, the main thing is to THINK before you key up that mic. Decide exactly what information you need to deliver, and say just that.

                          It will get easier, i promise. And, it's fun.
                          Last edited by Presence 1*; 10-17-2009, 02:02 PM.


                          • #14
                            If it makes you feel any better

                            I have been on the job for over 30 yrs. I talk on the radio DAILY (also worked dispatch as a sworn officer for a while many years ago)

                            I talk DAILY on the radio during off duty hours (Ham Radio Operator)

                            Last night I need to get an officer to do an escort-------Grabbed the HT, Keyed the mic----------------had a total brain fart! 4 seconds of complete silence then decided to unkey. Tried again------------

                            Got two words out then my tongue got in front of my eye teeth and I could see what I was trying to say---------you would have thought I was dyslexic as no two words really made sense. I gave up and told the officer to PBX.

                            The shift accused me (while laughing ) during meal break of drinking my lunch. I hid in my office the rest of the night.

                            Lets not talk about the night I had to call in a fatal accident-------forgot the code we were using at the time..............lets just say it was laughed about for several months (until someone else made a radio boo-boo)
                            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


                            • #15
                              I'll give you an example.

                              Dispatch, I'm on scene and I can't locate the complainant. Everything here seems to be clear and there is no fighting going on. You can show me available for calls again.

                              Dispatch. negative contact, 10-8.
                              Due to the Juvenile bickering and annoying trolling committed by members of this forum I have started an igore list. If your name is listed below I can't see you.

                              CityCopDC, Fire Moose, Carbonfiberfoot, Damiansolomon


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