Police Psychology | 12 Greatest Hits

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

My brother contacted me a few months back and said he was writing his “Greatest Hits.”  I said, “Roy, the problem is you don’t have any major hits, in fact you stopped playing guitar in college.”  Roy was a country crooner with a great style and a dream in high school, but he gave it up and entered the real world.  So, Roy responded back, “Everyone has a ‘Greatest Hits’ in them, they just might not be songs on a record” (I didn’t bother to tell him that records were a thing of the past.  After all, he is my older brother by three years).  “I am writing the greatest things I ever did, the times I was spot on and just hit it.”  So, I asked him if this was a Maslow self-actualization thing you do at the end of life.  He said “nah, I just wanted to know I had done some things right.  You should try it.”

Everything is Negative

Not that I want to admit that my retired drug salesman brother gave me a great psychological technique I use with people all the time, but we do live in a very negative world.  I mean, I wake up in the mornings and read the news in New York and feel like Armageddon is upon us.  Writing your “12 Greatest Hits” does lift your spirits and does make you think about the good you have done in the world, and you don’t have to be a psychologist to suggest it to someone.  You can be a boss or a supervisor or even a spouse.  Write about family, work, social life, something you’ve done for someone, just sort of spread the good cheer all around.  It is great idea for the holidays, but even more for you personally to feel good for a change.  Let me give you a couple of mine as example: Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology | Catholic, Police Officer, and Possibly a “Saint”?

Fr. Joseph D’Angelo, Catholic Priest, Police Chaplain

Witness the unknown story of one such individual who risked his life amidst grave danger to save over five thousand perfect strangers. The following narrative is an inspiring story about keeping faith in the midst of tribulation, even to the point of sacrificing his own life to martyrdom.


Between 1938 and 1944, Giovanni Palatucci, who was in charge of the Italian Government’s Foreigners Office, and later Chief of Police in PalatucciFiume, northern Italy, saved the lives of 5,000 Jews, destined to extermination camps. Palatucci obtained false documents and safe-conducts for individuals persecuted by Nazism. He carried out this endeavor with the help of his uncle, Bishop Giuseppe Maria Palatucci of Campagna. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology | Holidays in Law Enforcement

by  Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP


Police Psychology | Eating Bugs

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

Water Beetles!  Yummm….  I watched as people walked up to a street vendor and gathered a fried bug on a stick when I was in Hong Kong.  I had been working with the Singapore Police Department and decided to beetlemake a little stop in Hong Kong on the way home.  I figured, this is the culture, I should try a bug.  So, I summoned up the courage and bought one.  Took the shell off as I was instructed and bit into it.  It was crunchy on the outside, but boy the inside was where the treat was.  It tasted like the inside of a large bug, sort of like a shrimp paste gone really bad.  It was much worse than the tequila worm from college, but then I had drank a significant amount of the bottle and couldn’t feel anything.  Here it was just me and the bug.  No Tequila, no revelry, no people encouraging you with their “yechs” and “oh my god he’s eating the worm.” 

Later that evening we went to a sort of “Denny’s” and had Hong Kong food which was rather good in an eastern kind of way.  I was comfortable with the food.  At the table next to me was a group of cute college girls out on the town and they ordered a plate of barbecue pigeon heads, about 50 of these little heads looking up at you while you ate their beaks and eyes.  I stared at them so long, they asked if I wanted to try them.  I did, and they weren’t that bad, but man the culture was really different.  When I went to China on a later trip to work again, there was a whole market with different kinds of bugs, silkworms, centipedes, deep fried scorpions, sautéed tarantulas.   Some say they only eat bugs for either medicinal purpose or to freak out foreigners.  Freaked Out!  Worked for me.  There are other places where we see culture first hand, although not through bugs.  Like in our police officers. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology | Brain Eaters

By Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

In Telugu language, the second most popular language in India, they have a phrase that is highly important in police psychology – burra tinoddu. police psychology, zombie, police stressNot to be confused with the “Lion King’s” Hakuna Matata which tells you not to worry and be happy eating grubs and big juicy beetles, Burra Tinoddu roughly means “Don’t eat my brain.”   Damn, there are a lot of brain-eaters out there! And, the holidays just bring them out of the woodwork. We all have various interpersonal relationships: friends, family, spouses, children, bosses, co-workers, even the employees behind the counter at our favorite restaurants or coffee shops. In general, interpersonal relationships are very positive, and they are healthy for your own personal growth and development. However, we all have some people in our lives that are just physically and mentally draining. We walk away from any experience with them feeling like we just ran a full-marathon, and then hiked across the Sahara desert, and finished by climbing Mount Everest. And that’s when we’ve spoken to them for five minutes—don’t get me started on how we feel after talking to them for a whole hour. They are worse than zombies when eating your brain. At least zombies don’t talk incessantly. Read the rest of this entry »