CACP Bulletin

Fall 2018

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Page 13 of 17

T here are new kids in town—and some of them are psycholo- gists! Let me introduce you to the recently formed Police Psychologists Subcommittee of the CACP Human Resources and Learning Committee (HRLC). The role of psychologists and psychological services in policing has been gradually increasing in recent years. While some aspects of the role are long-standing (e.g. pre-employment assessments, fitness for duty assessments, Employee Assistance Programs and related counselling functions) there are other areas which are newer, such as, psychological input into operational work, training and education, program evaluation, management consulting, a variety of specialized assessments for particular job assignments such as ERT, personnel dealing with child abuse and other particularly stressful assignments, affecting mental health in the workplace. However, in spite of this growth in interest both by police services and psychologists, there has been no ready avenue for police leaders to obtain information about appropriate psychological services and researchers or to make contact with psychologists, nor is there a common venue for psychologists who work with police services in Canada to come together. Enter the CACP HRLC Subcommittee of Police Psychologists. Police psychology is still a relatively underdeveloped area of clinical practice in Canada. But that is not to say that there is nothing happening in the field. What exactly is included in the nebulous area of "police psychology?" Mental health in the police workplace is a hot topic today; this includes issues related to Post-traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) and resilience, but goes far beyond that. Aumillar and Corey (2007) 1 attempted to delineate the core domains of police psychology and have identified four groups of activities: ASSESSMENT: clinical and industrial/organizational angles. This group includes pre-employment and post-employment, promotion/job assignment, psychological assessments (both design and administration of assessments), issues related to fitness for duty, workplace accommodation, assessments of threat of violence, test and measurement development…and education and research. The CACP has endorsed pre-employment assessment guidelines, and the new subcommittee is putting finishing touches on Fitness for Duty assessment guidelines. Stay tuned! INTERVENTION—CLINICAL AND COUNSELLING: employee and family assistance, critical incident interventions, wellness and resilience training and education, mental health support for specialized assignments such as undercover, child abuse and homicide positions...and education and research. You may have read the article in the last issue of this magazine about Safeguard programs, or heard the presentation at the Halifax conference - another activity of the new subcommittee, along with the development of the PTSD Q and A paper which will be available very soon. OPERATIONAL SUPPORT: intelligence and information gathering, data analysis, criminal profiling, crisis negotiation, communication strategies, counter intelligence and counter terrorism strategies...and education and research. CONSULTING PSYCHOLOGY: organizational development, executive consultation and support, mediation, management and supervision, consultation and support, development of performance appraisal systems...and education and research. These lists are, of course, not exhaustive, but they do provide a general perspective on the broad range of areas in which psychological knowledge and skills are applicable to policing. One of the many challenges confronting the Canadian field of police psychology is that much of the research and practice is, not surprisingly, based on US research and practice. As the review by Snook (2009) 2 and his colleagues has indicated, there has been significant growth in the number of publications related to policing in criminal justice-related journals in the recent decades, but much of the research continues to be based on American practices and the US legal system. Anyone who has spent any time in Canadian policing can readily testify to the fact that policing here is quite different from policing in the US. The good news is that the proportion of research from Canadian sources is not insignificant. At the time of the article, Canadian researchers accounted for 22% of the publications. So where are we at in Canada? As noted, there are active researchers in areas as diverse as clinical, social, industrial/organizational, and many areas of experimental psychology who are looking at police psychology. An increasing number of the larger police organizations are hiring in-house psychologists. And when it comes to research, no matter what the subject (well, almost), psychologists bring to the table expertise in measurement and research. Do you wonder what best practices are for de-escalation training? How to ensure that your new hires have the potential to be tolerant, unbiased and patient as well as being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Which PTSD treatments are effective and which are not? What's the best use for all that data you routinely collect and then don't quite know what to do with? There might be a psychologist out there who can help. CACP 11 Fall 2018 BUILDING CONFIDENCE: ENSURING YOUR POLICE ORGANIZATION HAS ACCESS TO THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPERTS AND RESEARCH NEEDED TO FUNCTION EFFECTIVELY By Dr. Dorothy Cotton, O.Ont., Ph.D., C. Psych., Co-chair, CACP HRL Police Psychologists Subcommittee 1 Aumiller, Gary and Corey, David (2007) et al Defining the Field of Police Psychology: Core Domains & Proficiencies Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 22(2) 65-76. 2 Snook, B., Doan, B., Cullen, R. M., Kavanagh, J., & Eastwood, J. (2009). Research and publication trends in police psychology: A review of five forensic psychology journals. The Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 24, 45-50

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