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PSYC 3020
Dan Yarmey

UNIT 3 - POLICE OFFICERS COURSE MANUAL roles and functions of police - law enforcement and maintenance of public order are viewed as traditional roles of policing - publics view is skewed by the media misrepresenting police officers as mainly crime-fighters - police are also problem-solvers, decision-makers and social workers - there are many social functions provided by the police such as first aid, missing persons, disaster relief, family/domestic disputes etc. 3 styles of policing (1) watchman style: focuses on maintenance of public order instead of enforcing laws; police officers have a large latitude of discretion dependent on their private sense of justice - this style lacks professionalism and underenforcement of the law (2) legalistic style: characterized by strict enforcement of the law, highly professional favouring high specialization among officers and expects them to make decisions strictly according to the letter of the law (3) service style: less formal than legalistic but more controlled than watchman; this style encourages police to communicate and intervene with the public (esp. individual private needs and demands) and requires that police are comassionate and helpful history - beginning of 20th century, police were viewed as the arms of local political power in that police duties such as crime fighting and special services were part of the political agenda; dangerous because it creates the possibiity for corruption, bribary, graft - from 1930-70s police agencies attempted to separate police functions from political influence however, crime rates increased and society and police were faced with unrest from individuals claiming their personal rights had been violated CHAPTER 2 -- POLICE PSYCHOLOGY police selection police selection procedures: a set of procedures used by the police to either screen out undesirable candidates or select in desirable candidates - VPD (Vancouver) used social media (videos, webpage, etc) to recruit young people onto the force; has had an impact on the number of applications they receive 2 stages to process (1) job analysis stage: agency must define the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) of a good police officer and develop a procedure for doing so - KSAs may not be stable over time and it is difficult to determine what the procedures should test for; as an officer moves through the ranks the KSAs may differ for the position - typically important KSAs: honesty, reliability, sensitivity, communication skills, motivation, problem-solving, team player (2) construction and validation stage: agency must develop an instrument for measuring the extent to which police applicants possess these KSAs and it is crucial that the agency determine the instrument's validity - most important is predictive validity which is the ability to use a selection instrument to predict how applicants will perform in the future; how we measure the performance can impact the validitity of any selection instrument - one way is to compare results on a test with measures of job performance (complaints against officer, supervisor comments, exam scores, peer review etc.) this can be problematic because measures of performance during training do not often generalize to on-the-job performance, also ratings by peers and supervisors can often be contradictory selection interview: in recruiting, an interview used by the police to determine the extent to which an applicant possesses the knowledge, skills and abilities deemed important for the job semi-structured style: interviewer has preset list of questions - technique isn't the most valid and should be used with caution despite the fact that it is widely used; the more structured the interview is the more likely it is to predict future job performance psychological tests: another selection technique commonly used by police, some tests measure cognitive abilities, others measure personality, and others assess mental health; there is agreement that this is useful for selecting officers cognitive ability tests: procedure for measuring verbal, mathematical, memory and reasoning abilities - RCMP uses RPAT (RCMP police aptitude test) MC test designed to assess 7 core police skills: written composition, comprehension, memory, judgment, observation, logic and computation - good for predicting academy performance but personality tests probably better for on-the-job success Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory MMPI-2: one of the most commonly used assessment instruments for identifying people with psychopathological problems - 567 T/F questions attempting to identy problems including depression, paranoia and schizophrenia; this test has relatively low predictive validity scores, probably because it was never designed as a selection instrument Inwald Personality Inventory IPI: unlike MMPI this was developed specifically for law enforcement; measures personality attributes and behaviour patterns (stress reactions, interpersonal difficulties, alcohol and other drug use) - better at predicting future police behavior history of police selection - Terman, 91917) used the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test to assist with police selection; he recommended an IQ of at least 80 - mid 20th century, personality tests were used and by the mid 50s psychological and psychiatric screening procedures became a standard part of the selection procedure in several major police forces - 60s-70s major changes took place in that a higher educational requirement was recommended by the US and in 73' the US recommended that police agencies establish formal selection processes including cognitive ability and personality tests -- shows how policing had become much more formalized due to the wide range of selection procedures CANADA -- police agencies require background checks and medical exams, most use a range of cognitive ability and personality tests and some forces use a polygraph test assessment centers: a facility in which the behavior of police applicants can be observed in a number of situations by multiple observers - primary selection instrument used within an assessment centre is the situational test involving simulations of real-world policing tasks - some research suggests moderate levels of predictability police discretion: a policing task that involves discriminating between circumstances that require absolute adherence to the law and circumstances where a degree of latitude is justified - it is necessary because it is impossibly to establish laws to encompass all the possible situations an officer can encounter; with every law enforced, police would constantly be busy in the court/office and CJ system would be overwhelmed; vague laws make discretion necessary; most law violations are minor - officers must be nondiscriminatory while excercising discrection - however that is not always the case Most popular areas of police discretion (1) YOUTH - (30-40%) by handling cases informally (community-based intervention, restorative justice); growing trend encouraging police to do so - SYAP (Sparwood Youth Assistance Program) in BC allows young offenders to be dealt with outside the formal system resolution conference: integral part of program where offender and their family plus the victim and police are brought together to determine a plan to compensate the victim, pena
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