Police Psychology into the 21st Century

Police Psychology into the 21st Century

Police Psychology into the 21st Century

Police Psychology into the 21st Century


As we approach the 21st century, there is a discernable shift in policing, from an incident-driven perspective to a proactive problem solving stance often described as "community policing." In this volume a panel of 21 psychologists examine the changing directions in policing and how such changes impact on psychological service delivery and operational support to law enforcement agencies. The book describes existing and emerging means of providing psychological support to the law enforcement community in response to police needs to accommodate new technology, community-oriented problem solving technology, crime prevention, and sensitivity to community social changes.

Senior psychologists who are sworn officers, federal agents and civilian employees of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies comprise the team of chapter authors. Their perspectives encompass their collective experience "in the trenches" and in law enforcement management and administrative support roles. They discuss traditional applications of psychology to police selection, training and promotion processes, and in trauma stress management and evaluation of fitness for duty. Concerns related to police diversity and police family issues are also addressed, as are unique aspects of police stress management. Additional chapters are dedicated to establishing psychological service functions that currently are less familiar to police agencies than they are to other government and private sector service recipients. These chapters are devoted to police psychologists as human resource professionals, as human factors experts in accommodating to new technology and to new legal requirements, as organizational behavioral experts, and as strategic planners.

This text is recommended reading for two groups:

• police and public safety administators whose work takes them--or should take them--into contact with police psychologists;

• practicing and would-be police psychologists concerned with the emerging trends in the application of psychology to police and other public safety programs.


There is a compelling need for innovative approaches to the solution of many pressing problems involving human relationships in today's society. Such approaches are more likely to be successful when they are based on sound research and applications. The Applied Psychology Series offers publications that emphasize state-of-the-art research and its application to important issues of human behavior in a variety of social settings. The objective is to bridge both academic and applied interests.

Recent years have seen the development of police psychology as an important field of research and professional application. Various scientific psychological disciplines have played a significant role in our law enforcement agencies. This book brings together many of these developments. It includes chapters from individuals who have made significant contributions in law enforcement through the application of psychological science and professional practice.

The opening chapter of this book describes the development of police psychology from three distinct traditions and areas of psychology: traditional psychological service delivery to local police agencies, officers, and their families; operational support and research supporting federal law enforcement agency mission; and federal funding of behavioral science-based law enforcement technology and process development. Each of these traditions contributed to the growth of psychology as a science and as a profession and to the development of law enforcement as a professional discipline. Although each tradition-based form of law enforcement support has had its . . .

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