PSYC 2400 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Police Psychology, Personality Test, Physical Fitness

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LECTURE TWO
Police Psychology
Applying psychological science and practice to law enforcement
environment
oAssessment
oOrganizational consultation
oIntervention
oOperational support
Police Selection
Process by which police agencies select police officers from a pool of
applicants
screening out those with undesirable qualities or selecting in those
with desirable qualities
Physical fitness, cognitive abilities, personality, and job-related
abilities
Not the same as police recruitment
History of Police Selection
1916 : Terman uses IQ tests to select officers in California
He tested 30 police officers and firefighters and determined a
minimum score of 80% was recommended.
1922 : Thurstone uses IQ tests to select police officers in Detroit
(police officers are unintelligent)
1950 : Humm and Humm first to use psychological tests to select
police officers in Los Angeles (reasonable degree of accuracy)
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1960s-70s : Psychological and psychiatric screening procedures
standard in many agencies
Today : background checks, medical exams, physical fitness tests,
selections interviews, cognitive ability tests; personality assessments,
etc.
Police Selection in Canada
There are some Provincial and Territorial differences in terms of how
process is carried out
All agencies conduct background checks and require medical exams
Most use cognitive ability tests and personality tests
Varies from organization
RCMP - multi-hurdle approach:
oStep 1: Information session
oStep 2: Aptitude testing
oStep 3: Physical abilities exam
oStep 4: Selection interview
oStep 5: Pre-employment polygraph
oStep 6: Background investigation
oStep 7: Medical and dental exams
oStep 8: Enrolment as a cadet
Video
What qualities are needed in a police officer?
oIntegrity, respect, willingness, community
leadership/volunteer, professionalism and accountability.
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Police Selection Process
Police selection involves two stages:
I. Job analysis: procedure identifying knowledge skills and
abilities that make a good police officer
II. Construction and validation
Psychologist is usually involved in these stages
Job Analysis
Define what knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) make a good
police officer.
oSurveying police officers or informal questioning such as
asking who the best officer is and why.
Done formally (using surveys or observational methods) or
informally (by asking)
Issues:
i. Stability of KSAs over time
ii. Different KSAs for different jobs
iii. Agreement on KSAs, research shows that questioning police
chiefs and police officers are very different. Police officers
have more humor based characteristics than a chief.
Key characteristics include: honesty, reliability, sensitivity,
communication skills, motivation, problem solving skills, team work
Construction and Validation
Develop an instrument to measure these qualities and ensure these
instruments are related to performance (predictive validity).
Key performance measures include: academy performance,
supervisor ratings, complaints, etc.
Issues:
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