Police Psychology: A New Specialty and New Challenges for Men and Women in Blue

Police Psychology: A New Specialty and New Challenges for Men and Women in Blue

Police Psychology: A New Specialty and New Challenges for Men and Women in Blue

Police Psychology: A New Specialty and New Challenges for Men and Women in Blue

Synopsis

Police Psychology: A New Specialty and New Challenges for Men and Women in Blue offers readers the opportunity to examine two different aspects of police psychology: psychology as it pertains to the personality of police officers and the application of psychology in police practices. The book takes readers inside the lives of real officers struggling with the daily quest to remain mentally healthy in the face of often-gruesome crime scenes. The actual experience of police work is illustrated through case studies and vignettes, and the text offers a template of best practices for those who practice police psychology.

Other insights in this book reveal the practical side of policing, examining the use of psychology in hostage negotiation, interview and interrogation, threat assessment, and criminal profiling. Readers go behind the scenes to watch as police apply psychological principles in actual cases, and then are given the opportunity to match wits with a simulated foe themselves.

Excerpt

When one thinks of police and police psychology, one might assume that the practice of police psychology has been around almost as long as the profession, which dates back some 200 years, but police psychology is a relatively new specialty, which falls under the umbrella of forensic psychology. Although the profession of policing dates back to the early 1800s, it wasn’t until 1908 that it began developing standards and training for police recruits. The first such professional training program was established by August Vollmer in Berkeley, California. Vollmer (1936) is considered the father of modern American policing, and he advocated written tests, intelligence testing, oral boards, physical fitness testing, neurological tests—all of the aforementioned information to be passed onto a psychiatrist to evaluate the candidate’s fitness for duty—and finally a background investigation (pp. 228–231).

Today, many of the innovations prescribed by Vollmer have been adopted by most agencies, based in part or in whole on the needs of the organization. The science of police psychology is relatively new, and this chapter establishes its humble beginnings and then provides a road map for the remainder of the text.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF POLICE PSYCHOLOGY

The first intelligence test for police selection was administered by Terman et al. (1917) for the San Jose Police Department. The test was administered as . . .

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