Archive for the ‘Mastering Effort’ Category

Police Psychology | Parkinson’s Law

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP


In 1955, a year before my birth, an English historian who had worked in civil service was written up in the magazine “The Economist” about a law of nature that would control my life, in fact, controls many of us.  He said “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”   “Data expands to fill the storage available” is a corollary to the initial observation and finally “if you spend 10 hours on a project you will be twice as far behind than if you only spend five hours on the project.”  I think these were meant to be humorous, but I am not exactly laughing about them.  In fact, it may have been true back then, but now it is more like work expands to fill any time in the day, including the time set aside for relaxation and comfort, and sometimes even dinner.   

Why does this happen?  Why does it seem we are always running out of time?  Why do deadlines appear even when they are not apparent at first?  Of course, there is the obvious, that people’s natural tendency to procrastinate work causes deadlines to appear that didn’t exist before.  People want to do non-work things more than work things.  Deadlines are unnatural and imposed on us usually from outside.  Everybody gets that.  But what are the other reasons that works expands to fill the time allotted or usually more than the time allotted?  How is it that we always seem to underestimate the time needed to complete a project? (more…)

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Police Psychology | Active School Shooter Drills:  A Reflection; A Request

By Paul Cech


When I first heard about active school shooter training from a colleague who had attended a training session, I quickly formed a cautious opinion.

In the year since then, I have been sorting through journal articles, books, and other resources to formulate an informed opinion with a plan to synthesize the information and write a literature review.

Active-shooter training is about practicing response mechanisms to remain calm and safe while following a protocol.  The mechanisms are to run away and bring nothing along with you.  Second, it is to hide in an area out of the shooter’s view.  Block the entry to your hiding place, block the doors and silence the cell phones.  Third, is to fight as a last resort and only when your life is in danger.  Attempt to incapacitate the shooter and throw items at the shooter.  The reasoning behind the protocol is that an active-shooter is running wild without any direction, only desiring to kill as many people in a short period of time that he can.  But is that all there is?

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Police Psychology | Procrastination:   When Later Becomes Never

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP


Procrastination is a debilitating mindset that often turns “later” into “never.”

   Police psychology deals with many issues that are unique, but working in law enforcement also has many issues that other stressful jobs do. Procrastination is a problem that affects a huge number of people in the world. It is a debilitating emotional disease that renders you incapable of performing to your greatest capacity. And yet, like many diseases today, there is a cure.

Procrastination is easy to do. And it’s fun! In fact, just now as I’m supposed to be writing this blog post, I’ve got 12 tabs on my internet browser open…my mind is wandering to what I’m going to make myself for lunch…yes, I think I’m going to go take a break and get lunch now… (more…)

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Police Psychology | The Schedule is the Key

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP


We all like being rewarded for the things we do. I mean, who wouldn’t want a sticker on your chart, or an ice cream cone, or a salary raise, every time you do something good?  In this article, we are going to line chartexplore operant conditioning and how you can get meaning out of it in your job as a first responder.

Operant conditioning relies on something called the Law of Effect, which states that a response will increase if followed by a positive consequence and decrease if followed by a negative consequence. Pretty simple!  There are two main “consequences” out there: reinforcement, which is consequences that increase the rate with which you will respond the desired way, and punishment, which are consequences that decrease the rate of responding.  Both of these include positive (add a stimulus) and negative (remove a stimulus) options, so we really have four possibilities: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment.  We’re going to leave punishment for a later article, let’s deal with just reinforcement.  Now how you use reinforcement is the reason that many call it the secret to controlling others?

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Police Psychology | Persistence in Law Enforcement

Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

I saw the musical On Your Feet last night on Broadway.  It was about Gloria and Emilio Estafan and their story of a rise to fame and fortune.  She was the first big Hispanic crossover in the music field and later Emilio keep goinghad his hands in other Latin crossovers that followed like Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony.

Early in their careers, no one would play their music because it was Latin and had Latin rhythms.  It was fine for their record producers to say they were tops on the charts in the Spanish music market, but it wasn’t going anywhere on the English market.  Their record company would not hear of it even when they brought in an English song.  He didn’t want a Spanish group doing English music — no record company wanted that.  So, Emilio and Gloria started playing the English songs everywhere, gave many free gigs and concerts at clubs, blasted it from car radios as they traveled around, got stations to play it out of the blue — they created their own publicity with pure persistence.  They ignored what the experts told them and were being purely persistent.  Life is very much that way, persistence wins out.  But, when are you too persistent…? (more…)

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