Archive for the ‘Public Information Bureau’ Category

Police Psychology | Divorce in Cops and Corrections

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

I just spent the past week at the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology meeting.  I had been the first executive director of the group and was the president the year before that, so I (with two others) totally ran divorcethe organization from October 2002 until this year where I passed the leadership role.  This year I actually got to watch the presentations first hand since I wasn’t organizing a special meal or lost luggage or whatever “hissy fit” complaints come up at a conference.  It is a great conference of law enforcement officers and psychologists.  I suggest you schedule it next year.

I had also helped organize conferences at the FBI academy in the late 90’s to attack some of the myths of policing such as the high suicide rate and the high rate of domestic violence.  Hell, when I started this job, one was led to believe that the world took their most screwed up group of people and gave them a uniform, badge, and gun, then stressed them out to the max and said “protect the public.”   Problem was, I was seeing a lot of cops and they were pretty normal, in fact they were good friends, relatively smart and mostly family men.  I mean, I came across some “players,” but most were doing overtime, complaining about their wives and husbands like the rest of us, and had decent relationship with their kids.  Turns out from the FBI conferences, rates of domestic violence are not that high, in fact below the general population.  And suicide rates are below the general population.  We never got to finish the triad and look at divorces.  We never had a definitive study of divorce.  Until now!  And the real data is not that bad! (more…)

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Police Psychology | Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP


I can’t wait to see the polls this week.  Two weeks ago Trump was behind by 10 points, earlier last week by 5 points, the end of last week by 2 points and yesterday he was ahead by 3 points in the states that mattered.  Yeah right!  I can’t wait to see what kind of fantasy the news wants us to buy this week.  Not that these really aren’t the polls, but the metholine chartds and presentation do not seem very accurate anymore.  In fact, statistics do not seem accurate anymore in general.  You can’t trust them.  It brings back the old quote from Mark Twain “There are three types of lies:  lies, damned lies and statistics.”

In 2001, a student and professors dealt with rumors that Greek Hospitals were doing large number of appendix operations on Albanian citizens.  It was not reported in the statistics.  So they studied the rumors in six hospitals and in fact an Albanian was 3 times more likely to have a healthy appendix taken out of them than a Greek citizen.  Three times more likely to undergo an operation that wasn’t needed!  It was reported in an article called “Lies, Damned Lies and Medical Science.”  What would a “lies, damned lies and policing” look like?

It has been said that 92% of statistics are made up on the spot.  Sound a little high, maybe it is more like 76% of statistic are made up on the spot.  Actually, I have seen from 26% to 92% when talking about what is made up on the spot – sort of evidence that the premise is true whatever the number is.  So let me just point to four ways statistics can lie to you by looking at some of the myths of policing. (more…)

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Police Psychology | Honesty:  An Endangered Species

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP


I was at a party this Labor Day weekend and I talked to a New York Port Authority Police Officer who was originally from Peru.  His mom had cancer beetleand I felt real bad for him.  She was only given a few weeks to live, then he said that was 4 ½ years ago.  When she was diagnosed, he went down to Peru and purchased a bunch of cancer eating beetles, bringing them back into the United States in an ant farm type of arrangement.  The beetles have to be swallowed whole and alive, but seem to release some kind of toxin that kills cancer cells.  The beetles were used in many different ancient medicines.  The toxin actually burns you while going down and in the stomach.  He said at first week you eat 10 beetles a day, and it increases to 80 beetles a day before it comes back to rest at 10.  He said he didn’t know if it worked because they changed her diet and a whole bunch of things she was doing, but he said whether it is real or a placebo effect it definitely worked for his mother.  I looked it up on the internet, and in fact there is a lot about it, even some studies.  Seems it is only the male beetle that releases a toxin, it does offer a legit treatment for skin cancer, but the mythology is that it works with all cancers, sometimes.  Whoa, 80 burning beetles!  Alive!  And let’s say 40 are female, so you are  eating 40 that you don’t even have to!

My friend’s wife has cancer and they are not too positive about the prognosis.  He changed the diet, she starting radiation and such, but he was considering cannabis oil as a treatment.  When distilled in a certain way it has some studies that show it is marijuanaeffective, and there are articles on both sides of the effectiveness issue.  It has also been used in ancient medicines.  But of course, it is illegal except in California, and you can’t cross state lines to bring it back to New York.  So we devised some ways to get it back and try it if needed.  Not approved by the government for treatment, yet it sure sounds more pleasant than burning beetles from South America.  Unfortunately, you are supposed to take the oil in suppositories, so you might get a “high” in the wrong end.  When in desperation, you look for anything to cure the problem, but underlying this is a lack of trust in our government to regulate these types of things.  A lack of trust in medicine also.  Why is it we don’t trust medicine and the government to regulate these things anymore?  Shouldn’t we do something about this problem? (more…)

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Police Psychology | It Isn’t All About Islam

by Geoff Dean, Ph.D. (Australia) and Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  (U.S.A.)

What causes people to shoot up a gay nightclub?  Or, shoot up a holiday party of co-workers or drive a truck into the middle of a crowd celebrating independence day killing a lot of children?  Or shoot innocent people going to work or  attending college classes.  We want to believe it is the Islamic faith and gaining the love of virgins in the afterlife.  Not quite that simple. 

AS MOST THINGS IN LIFE, MASS MURDERS ARE A COMBINATION OF A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT FACTORS.  Some of them are through the filter of mental illness.  He was described as unhinged and unstable.  His reality is going to be very different from a normal person because of his mental illness.  Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter, was a steroid user, abusive and secretly gay.  Many mass killers have at least some mental health issue, were damaged when they were younger, or are desperate enough to sacrifice themselves to make an impact in a world they will never see.  Their view of the world is skewed, affected by their mental state.  Add to that some of the propaganda set forth by groups like ISIS.  The murderer may be open to different interpretations of the world, even though it is not so bad for him.  Extreme thinking is not too far for Omar to go as he swore vengeance on Americans because of airstrikes in Libya and Iraq.   The guy who drove the truck into a crowd of civilians in Nice, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhel, was seriously depressed and lonely, and this stimulated him to have a different filter for his perceptions.  What is important is that filter for the perceptions forms their interpretation of the world, and the extremeness that they think they face in their daily life.  It determines the belief system they use to organize their world.  It determines the perceptions of the world as a terrible place, and justifies terrible acts like mass murder.  How are these perceptions formed? (more…)

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Police Psychology | Stalking the Stalker

Hamish Brown, MBE

Hamish retired in 2004 as a Detective Inspector on the Specialist Crime Directorate at New Scotland Yard after over 30 years service with the Metropolitan Police, London England


It is easy to think stalking is all about celebrities and the stars, after all when we see any news item about stalking it is usually associated with those people. It is true, of course, the stalking of celebrities is a rising and serious problem. The growth of the technical sophistication of the media, the rise of the internet and the unparalled access to information have all contributed to provide a dangerous basis on which stalkers can survive.

The threat is real to celebrities but this is only the tip of the iceberg as the over whelming number of people who are stalked are ordinary members of the public. They do not have their own lawyers, agents and security but are the often anonymous victims of stalking who have to fend for themselves. They are attacked every day with a terror that is real to them but unknown by others.  (more…)

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