‘People can express their emotions:’ Dubuque holds emotional intelligence conference for city employees

City leaders say it has helped the police department with de-escalation tactics
The city of Dubuque held its second conference on emotional intelligence on Wednesday.
The city of Dubuque held its second conference on emotional intelligence on Wednesday.(KCRG)
Published: Jul. 19, 2023 at 5:36 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Dubuque Police Department is working to build trust and improve de-escalation tactics by building emotional intelligence in its officers.

“You’re not just a police officer. You’re a human being who has real emotions, right, real reactions to these situations,” Lieutenant Rick Fullmer said. “We know that there’s a compounding effect of all these critical instances that you respond to.”

The city’s conference Wednesday was it’s second training event to help employees understand how their emotions impact them at work.

Lieutenant Fullmer says the city is one of the first to train employees on emotional intelligence — something that started with the police department in 2016.

Back then, he says many didn’t fully understand the role mental health plays in police work.

“I think since then since de-escalation became sort of the the hot topic and folks started to realize that EQ is a big part of that,” Fullmer said. “Now it’s in a lot of literature, but then even six or seven years ago there wasn’t much available to us.”

Liza Johnson of The EQ Development Institute said the same techniques that can help officers also applies to other city workers.

“We know today that stress is rising that jobs are not getting easier that there’s going to be problems and that we know that emotional intelligence can really be a personal resource to us,” Johnson said.

Lieutenant Fullmer says the key is to focus on empathy, communication and healthy coping methods.

“Not promoting this idea that you have to bottle up emotions or ignore emotions to get through the day,” Fullmer said. “No, you have to acknowledge that because we know that those emotions are going to impact, you know, your performance and your decision making.”

He says emotional intelligence training can also help police departments recruit and retain officers.