Ask, Tell, Make-Updated Skills for the 21st Century Officer

Ask, Tell, Make: Updated Skills for the 21st Century Officer
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-03-12
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Ask, Tell, Make: Updated Skills for the 21st Century Officer
Unit 2 Transcript: Ask, Tell, Make: Updated Skills for the 21st Century Officer
Unit 3 Workbook: Ask, Tell, Make: Updated Skills for the 21st Century Officer
Unit 4 Recording: Ask, Tell, Make: Updated Skills for the 21st Century Officer

Working in the corrections setting requires communicating with some of the most unpredictable characters in the community. The Ask, Tell, Make approach was developed in the late 70s, but recent developments in the profession require a more nuanced approach to communicating to prevent escalation and protect both the inmates and the corrections staff.

Here to talk about the updated Ask, Tell, Make for the 21st century officer is Barbara Gould. Barbara owns Gould Consulting, LLC, a corrections officer consulting and training organization. She served the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) in Flint, Michigan and upon retiring, served as Director of Training for the Michigan Sheriffs’ Coordinating & Training Council.

Topics she discussed in her presentation include:

  • A timeline of law enforcement and corrections illustrating a historical shift from punitive measures to rehabilitation efforts and the persistent challenges to reduce crime and recidivism throughout.
  • Emotional intelligence: What it is, its five key elements, and how one of its components is pivotal in the Ask, Tell, Make framework.
  • The concept of innate emotions, how we tend to default to these, and how these fuel, motivate, and assist in decision-making.
  • The key elements of emotional intelligence.
    • Self-Awareness and how practices of meditation, mindfulness, journaling, talking, and reading fiction are essential for recognizing and understanding one’s emotions.
    • Self-regulation: Why this is the most important element, questions to facilitate self-regulation, how it prevents escalation and retaliation, and how it is used in the correctional setting.
    • Motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic, that fuels our actions and is essential for sustaining engagement and satisfaction in our endeavors.
    • Empathy that enables officers to understand others’ perspectives, fostering a more compassionate approach to law enforcement.
  • Comparing the original Ask, Tell, Make model and its updated 21st Century model where the evolved model emphasizes empathy, understanding motives, and clear communication of consequences to enhance compliance and prevent disciplinary measures and even court charges.
  • Step-by-step guidance to the 21st Century Ask, Tell, Make model with verbatim examples of what each step may look/sound like and related resources.
  • The basic elements of communication that look into who’s sending the message, the message, the status of the receiver, the medium or channel the message is being communicated, and the environment.
  • The elements of personal communication that highlight the importance of body language and voice and tone versus the spoken words.
  • Common listening pitfalls that look at the rate by which an average person retains information, how fast we think versus we speak, and how listening isn’t a fully honed skill.
  • Guidelines to effectively employ active listening that highlight limiting your talking, putting away distractions, engaging, empathizing, asking questions, paraphrasing, and exercising emotional control.
  • Tips to elicit better responses to questions through reflective and open-ended questions, paraphrasing, and responding with empathy.
  • The different channels and mediums communication goes through and aspects that may influence understanding in each setting.
  • How communication is an in-demand skill in all professions and must be developed in corrections.
  • What encompasses social skills and how these can be leveraged in the corrections setting to foster compliance.

Questions from the webinar participants are about:

  • Handling non-compliant subjects.
  • Scenarios where the straight Ask, Tell, Make model is most fitting.
  • Application of communication and control strategies in education and probation/parole contexts.
  • The challenge of displaying empathy in law enforcement without appearing vulnerable or weak.


Resources and Handouts

Webinars with this Presenter


Click here to register and view other Jail/Corrections-related webinars and recordings on the JCH website.



Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “She was very knowledgeable and the slides were informative. Thank you!”
  • “Barbara was very knowledgeable. I found the empathy portion and breathing exercises to be very helpful.”
  • “This is a great webinar for new hires who have NO background in law enforcement/corrections. This would include someone fresh out of a POST academy but with no job experience. This webinar would be a great refresher for others – a reminder of why we train the way we do (which for my agency, is like this webinar).”
  • “Solid information presented in a meaningful way. I’d recommend this session for our training unit and our line staff.”
  • “I really liked the specific examples that the presenter gave in regards to addressing a difficult individual if they violate/ break a rule.”
  • “Nice direct approach in delivering the subject. Liked the reference sources provided for further research/education.”
  • “This webinar was very good and even though it was geared towards Correctional Officers and dealing with inmates I see where it could be useful in dealing with co-workers and employees.”
  • “I found the webinar to be full of information to use in leadership and supervision not just corrections.”
  • “Today’s training was excellent.”




This webinar will be considered by the American Jail Association to equal one online learning hour toward certification and recertification for the following programs: Certified Jail Officer, Certified Jail Supervisor and Certified Jail Manager.  For more information about AJA certification programs, visit



This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine’s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.




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