Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

Police Psychology | Take the Operational Triangle Home

by Doug Gentz, Ph.D. Psychological Services

The operational triangle was developed to provide a graphic way to represent priorities for officers in the field. At the base operational-triangleof the triangle is Officer Safety which always comes first. The middle level of the triangle is about building Rapport which involves interacting with other people in a way that creates or enhances a relationship and increases your ability to exert the power of influence. Problem Solving is at the top of the triangle and could be as simple as giving someone directions to the bus station or as complex as making a successful case against a homicide suspect.

As opposed to influence, problem solving relies on the power of authority, meaning you can make something happen that eliminates the problem. Your directions relieve the lost pedestrian’s ignorance about the bus station and the case you build against the murderer takes him off the street. Somewhere in between is arresting a drunk driver. When you’re through solving a problem, you can usually go 10-8. (more…)

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Police Psychology | Holidays in Law Enforcement

by  Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP


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Police Psychology | Becoming a Psychological Investigator When No One Asked Me To

by Marla Friedman Psy.D.,

I just finished watching Detective Gary Traver’s video, The Joy of a Missing Person Case.  I know exactly what he means.  I am a police psychologistdetective who has a full-time therapy practice, trains chiefs of police, FTO’s and rank and file officers as well as publishes articles nationally on mental health and suicide prevention.  I love all that I do with law enforcement.

However, my secret wish, when I heard there was such a job, was to become an FBI profiler. Too bad, so sad.  I was too old, and I don’t run fast or jump high.  So I decided to create my training program to learn how to investigate crimes.  How happy was I to find that some of the top investigators from the FBI, NYPD and other departments and associations were teaching during their off time or their retirement.  At the time I didn’t realize that some of these people were the developers of profiling at the FBI behavioral unit.  I learned so much from Robert Ressler and Roy Hazelwood.  I took the basic and advanced courses in “the Reid Method.”  I learned how to detect deception from Avinom Sapir, and did a 24-hour training with Vernon Geberth forcing myself to look at all kinds of nasty pictures until I could read his book and eat my lunch at the same time (not easy and a wonderful weight loss method.)  I did ride a-longs, field interviews, went to jail to talk to bad guys, watched interviews through the two-way mirror, wrote up psychological analysis on cold cases; you name it I did it.  I attended everything I could, even when told, “no psychologists allowed!”  I found a way to talk myself in.  So, my adventure began! (more…)

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Police Psychology | An Unsung Hero

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP


This weekend I was working on a cement block retaining wall, the ones that look like rocks but are really just carved cement.  I needed to do about 50 feet of wall but I figured being 60 next month and having gotten over open heart surgery, and being fat and in the wrong shape (round instead of square), I would do ten feet at a time, about two hours of work, I figured.  First I had to rip out big eight-foot landscape ties, then dig a trench about 7-8 inches deep, fill it full of bluestone pebbles rocks to 4 inches left, put in the block, level them and WALLA, I’m done.   Simple.  Eight and a half hours later, with two trips to Home Depot I was exhausted and couldn’t even carry the last blocks to the wall.  I needed a chainsaw for the landscape ties.  I had to make two cuts on each one so I could carry them.  I had to sharpen the blade after every cut.  I need four times as much rock as I had.  Digging was an adventure, who knew every rock in the free world came to rest in my front yard, and leveling the blocks in an unlevel yard —  I am not built for this kind of work!  And no one will notice the difference.  And I thought about my occasional friend Jim Dougherty when I was finished.

We lost a good one, a real hero, this Tuesday.  No not that way, Jim Dougherty retired.  Jim ran Marworth Treatment Center and came to my attention in the late 90’s when he asked me if I would help him establish a treatment center for police officers and first responders.  He came across my name when I was doing a tour of field offices for the FBI teaching Keeping It Simple and he wanted to know if I thought an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center could be maintained for law enforcement.  Jim said Marworth had a program for medical professionals, doctors and nurses that had taken off and he wanted to run one for law enforcement.  He had luck with the Pennsylvania police and wanted to expand.  We talked and I decided to go up to Marworth and see what Jim was trying to develop.  Quite honestly no one had maintained a program for law enforcement for any length of time, although many had tried. (more…)

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Police Psychology | Disabled Police Officer or Scammer?

Sgt, John R.  Ret. Deputy Sheriff


What is a Disabled Police Officer?  I will tell you. He or she is “Lucky,” “A Scammer,” “Faking It,” “Has Hit The Jackpot,” “ Malingering,” “ Making it Worse Than it is,” “Lazy,” “Trying to Get Out of Work,” and the names go on and on… .  If you have become permanently “Disabled in The Line of Duty” perhaps you have been called one of these names, or similar ones, to your face. I will say you have, most definitely, been called one of these names behind your back.  

On Long Island, New York a police officer gets three-quarters of his salary if he is in an accident or one-half if he is injured doing his job.  A sheriff gets three-quarters if it is prisoner-related and one half if it is not prisoner-related.  Three-quarters tax-free is essentially a little more than they were making while they were working.  Perhaps it is because some of these officers don’t “look” injured. Perhaps it is because many in our police culture have joked, one time or another, about “Hitting the Jackpot” or “Going Out” on a disability pension when they have had a bad day at work, experience burnout or get the feeling that this job just isn’t worth the aggravation. Or perhaps, it is because we all know someone who is a “Disabled Police Officer”, who runs road races, does power lifting, competes in triathlons or works roofing or other heavy manual labor jobs on the side while claiming to be “Disabled.”   There are lots of reasons on Long Island to be suspicious. (more…)

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