Fundamentals of Reading Body Language for Law Enforcement


The ability to interpret facial expressions, posture and other cues is crucial for police officers and anyone in law enforcement. Being able to read body language helps to defuse potentially deadly situations and gives police officers the ability to determine whether people are telling the truth or being deceptive. Let's take a look at why this aspect of law enforcement is so vital.

When people think of the most important skills that police officers need, body language probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. From a layman's point of view, this may seem like a vague or even esoterica area. However, experienced law enforcement officers understand it's a practical and essential skill and a key part of a training program for law enforcement.

Preventing and Managing Violent Behavior

People rarely act without giving some kind of clue to their intention. Understanding someone's state of mind can mean the difference between life and death in many situations. If a suspect makes a sudden move, police officers have to make a split-second judgment if he or she is reaching for a weapon and react appropriately.

Recognizing Deception

Law enforcement professionals need to develop a sense of whether or not people are being truthful. There are many signals that indicate whether someone is being honest or deceitful. John Bowden, the founder and director of Applied Police Training and Certification, identifies several key areas on which to focus when assessing truthfulness.

  • Eye Contact. Lack of direct eye contact may indicate deception.
  • Tone of Voice. Does the person's voice get lower or higher when answering certain questions?
  • Physical Behavior. This may include posture as well as actions such as nervous fidgeting
  • Timing. People may answer questions quickly or slowly. If someone takes too long to answer a simple question, for example, this may indicate deception.
  • The Response Itself. The content of the answer must also be considered, of course.

Understanding body language, of course, is a complex science and not something you can master by memorizing a few simple rules. Experts spend many hours studying and verifying principles. The right kind of training, however, can help law enforcement personnel learn these principles and apply them to their jobs.


Law Enforcement Training Courses

Download the online course catalog and view dozens of topics critical to law enforcement officers.


Calibre Press Courses for Law Enforcement

Here are a few of the Calibre Press online training courses offered by TargetSolutions to help your law enforcement department.

Body Language: Reading People 101

This course focuses on the fundamentals of reading body language. It lays the foundation for law enforcement professionals to effectively evaluate behavior so they can make well-informed decisions. The content of the course is enhanced by scientific research, case studies and videos displaying real-life encounters.

Body Language: Reading People 201

This course provides more advanced insights into the nuances of body language, giving law enforcement professionals greater insight into human behavior. It covers all types of unconscious communication and subtle changes in behavior that can provide important information.

Body Language: Analysis of Deceptive Behavior

The ability to discern the accuracy of people’s statements is one of the most important skills that police officers can possess. This course reveals how to identify deception by paying attention to body language, speech and facial expressions. It covers a variety of signals that often indicate deception such as Freudian slips of the tongue that people unconsciously make.

Body Language: Analysis of Pre-Attack Indicators

When it comes to safety, nothing is more important than being able to predict violent behavior. This course helps law enforcement professionals recognize crucial cues that offenders often display before acting out violently. Being able to identify pre-attack indicators helps keep everyone safer.


Calibre Press training by TargetSolutions provides a variety of innovative courses that teach important skills to law enforcement professionals to help them improve job performance and better protect the public.

For more information about law enforcement training online, request a demo.

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