Police Psychology into the 21st Century

By Martin I. Kurke; Ellen M. Scrivner | Go to book overview
6. Did the victim, operator, or service provider have (or lack) any personal characteristics that materially increased or reduced the likelihood of the accident or its expected consequences? Should the designer have taken the likelihood of occurrence of such personal characteristics into account when designing the system?

Answers to Questions 1 and 2 are useful in establishing the facts leading up to the accident and the actual events that occurred. From a human factors point of view, however, the answers to the rest of the questions are more interesting. Questions 3 through 6 relate back to the MANPRINT model. Question 3 refers to the analyses of equipment design and the need to determine that performance was not degraded because the equipment was faulty. Question 4 relates to the requirement that training procedures be reviewed to make sure that information that might have averted the accident was available to the human operator. Question 5 stresses the importance of requiring that the provider of the equipment be held accountable for the product design. Question 6 has two components. On one hand, it emphasizes the importance of developing selection criteria for potential employees and identifying personal characteristics that could influence the likelihood of an accident. On the other hand, it emphasizes the importance of the identification of design flaws, problems, and information transfer and the importance of accommodation in the form of occupational training or rehabilitation therapy for impaired applicants and employees.


SUMMARY

In this chapter we have pointed out several ways in which human factors psychology impacts the day-to-day operation of law enforcement agencies. An old adage says that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and in law enforcement, the chain can break if there are significant weaknesses in the human element (the officer), the equipment provided to do the job, or the organization in which the officer functions. The problem of human error was discussed in the context of the interaction of organizational demands and operational requirements, the capabilities of the human operator, and sources of human error or systems error, and several practical examples of situations that might arise were cited. The MANPRINT system was offered as a framework for assessing the need for and the impact of new systems and equipment by analyzing six human resource concerns: manpower, personnel, training, human factors, system safety, and health hazards. Recommendations in the form of specific questions and issues were made for application of the MANPRINT model to law enforcement agencies. The chapter closed with recommendations for using job analysis techniques to

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