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PSYC 3020 (97)
Dan Yarmey (94)
Chapter 2

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PSYC 3020
Dan Yarmey

PSYC*3020 Chapter 2: Police Psychology Police Selection - Police selection procedures: a set of procedures used by the police either to screen out undesirable candidates or select desirable candidates (features include: fitness level, personality, cognitive abilities) - Police are now using social media to recruit potential officers as there may be a shortage in the future as fewer young people are pursuing a career as police A Brief History of Police Selection - Early uses of psych for this included the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test - 1950s psychiatric screening a routine part of selection - 60s and 70s lead to a higher intelligence requirement for officers - Use of medical exams, background checks, personality tests The Police Selection Process - Two stages: o The job analysis stage (must define a ‘good’ police officer)  A procedure for identifying the knowledge, skills, and abilities(KSAs) that make a good police officer  Can be done informally or by an organizational psychologist  A problem is that KSAs of a good police officer can change over time because different types of officers require different KSAs  Individuals may also disagree as to what KSAs are important  Honesty, reliability, sensitivity, good communication, high motivation, problem- solving and being a team player are typically seen as important o Construction and validation stage (develop an instrument to measure ‘good’)  Predictive validity: our ability to use a selection instrument to predict how applicants will perform in the future  A problem is what measure to use and how to define good performance  If a predictive validity (ex. times tardy) predicts job performance it is said to have predictive validity The Validity of Police Selection Instruments The Selection Interview - One of the most commonly used to determine if an applicant possesses the KSAs (which can be different for different forces) - Mixed results in research that has been done, some say this method can be used to accurately predict job performance others say it should be used with caution Psychological Tests - Also commonly used and is seen as useful (cognitive and personality tests) - Cognitive tests o Measure verbal, mathematical, memory and reasoning abilities o RCMP Police Aptitude Test (RPAT) measures written composition, comprehension, memory, judgement, observation, logic, computation o Personality variables may play a role beyond cognitive abilities in determining success - Personality tests o Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), now in its second version, most commonly used consisting of 567 MC questions o General inventory to identify people with psychopathological problems (ex. depression) o Evidence suggests little power in predicting performance o Inwald Personality Inventory (IPI), developed for police, slightly better predictor than the MMPI Assessment Centres - A centre in which the behaviour of police applicants can be observed in a number of situations by multiple observers - Situational test: a simulation of real-world policing tasks used to tap into KSAs - Moderate levels of predictive validity Police Discretion - A policing task that involves discriminating btw circumstances that require absolute adherence to the law and circumstances where a degree of latitude is justified Why is police discretion necessary? - A degree of discretion is inevitable because a law cannot adequately cover all possible situations an officer can encounter - Other reasons for police discretion o Enforcing all laws all the time = being in court and at the station all the time o Some laws are not intended to be strictly enforced all the time o Some laws passed are vague o Most law
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