Archive for the ‘Rank and Leadership’ 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 | Hanukkah Wishes and Communication

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

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Police Psychology:  Be the Solution, Not the Cause

by Lt. Jason Childers, Texas

We frequently hear about how stressful police work is, and the sacrifices we make in the service of our community is an oft-repeated narrative in police circles. The jerks we deal with on the street, the trauma of violent incidents, rotating shifts, the state of hypervigilance, concerns of personal safety and missed family time are all considered as sources of stress inherent to the job. These shared difficulties help to draw us together as a law enforcement family, but one factor consistently overlooked is that we are one of the main sources of our own problems. The cop staring back at you in the mirror may have more to do with causing job related stress than anything dealt with on the street. The good news is, the cop staring back at you in the mirror can also be part of the solution, especially if you’re a supervisor.
 
How was life when you entered the academy compared to how things are going today? With stringent entry-level standards in policing, most police officers begin their careers in excellent physical and mental health. Along the way, many officers develop signs and symptoms of stress which include poor job performance, sleep disturbances, marital discord, domestic violence, PTSD, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and even suicide. You’ve likely been through some of this yourself, or you’ve seen others deal with it.
 
But where does all of this come from?

(more…)

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Police Psychology | Morale

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

 

My very first job and first elected office, I was voted president of the Mighty Mouse Club by the kids in my neighborhood.  Mighty Mouse was a cartoon mighty-mousesuper hero mouse character that beat up cats in the 40’s 50’s and early 60’s.  The club members talked behind my back and all got a penny from their parents and each gave me a penny for my being the president.  I was so honored.  They didn’t tell me I was going to be paid!  I remember I was about kindergarten age at the time.  I remember I snuck to the ice cream truck when it came by later in the day, and I spent that seven cents on seven ice cream cones and gave one to each of the seven kids in the club.  I remember I didn’t order one for myself because I didn’t think I had enough money, but the ice cream man gave me one anyway.  (When I look back, my mother probably really paid for the cones, she had to watch while I went into the street).  I thought I was doing something that made all the kids happy.  I remember a girl named Margery, who lived two doors down from me, saying before we left that day that it was the best club in the whole world.

I had a conversation this week with an officer from a Midwest state who called me out of the blue.  He said he was a reader and that he wanted to get it across to his superiors that morale was very low and the trainings they are having don’t seem to address this issue or things that were important to the officers.  He said there has been a little bit of research in their department that showed that job satisfaction was in the low 20 percentiles and that was a major issue.  It was heart wrenching to have a guy say that 80 percent of his department isn’t crazy about their job anymore, a job many of them probably dreamed of taking.  He asked me how do I get a training on something that really mattered to his officers doing the job.

I personally have seen low morale across the country lately and want to spend a couple of paragraphs to address this issue. (more…)

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Police Psychology | The TRIAD:  A Department’s Own Superheroes

Nancy K. Bohl-Penrod, Ph.D., San Bernardino, Calif.

Peer support has been around for ages.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s peer support programs began to emerge at the Chicago Police department, the Boston Police department and NYPD.  They called those willing XEERto be in the program “peer counselors”.   The programs were originally created, because of the increase in alcohol abuse and the disciplines surrounding the abuse.  Their programs followed the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program.  The peer counselors (supporters) were in “recovery” and it was assumed the best fit to help others with their alcohol problems.

In the 1980’s, formalized, official, peer support   programs were developed by LAPD, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s department and the Long Beach police department.   It was at this time they changed their names from “counselors to supporters” because it appeared misleading. They were originally set up to assist existing mental health services.  Those designated peer supporters would help recognize those officers who were having personal and emotional problems. Similar to an “early detection” program.  These departments and their mental health providers, quickly realized the advantages to having trained peer support officers be immediately available. (more…)

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