Police Psychology | If I Can Just Get Through This Month

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

“…and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter’s…” fight!  Perhaps if Clement Clarke Moore would have written his poem in 2016 instead of 1822, this may have been the line in “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”  Many don’t find a serene “nap” on their schedule, in fact many “just want to get through it.”  Get through the holidays is the major sentiment that a psychologist sees in his office from mothers, and fathers, and cops and most people out there.  They often don’t let each other know in social relationships, but they sure do say it a lot in to a psychologist, even when we don’t ask.  I just want to get through this damn holiday season without “going broke,” “without ringing someone’s neck,” “without getting a divorce,” “without killing my kids…” “Maybe I’ll just work Christmas and Christmas Eve.”  The joys of the holidays!!

Holidays are a time when many people are happy, and quite a few are miserable or just powering through it.  If you have an overly controlling person(s) in the family, you have obnoxiously opinionated people in the family (you should have heard some of the stories after Thanksgiving this year, less than a month after the election), you have someone in the family who has a personality disorder, or you even have kids who missed the discretion and manners line on the way out of heaven, you could be in for a rough holiday.  Or if you have a family from Mars and you’re from Sheboygan, watch out, the Grinch lives in each of us and “his heart hasn’t grown 3 sizes that day” yet.  Well, Doc, can’t I just keep a positive attitude and get through it?  Bring a video camera, I want to see that solely for entertainment purposes.  Can’t I just avoid everyone this Christmas?  Do me a favor and make sure the battery on that camera is charged and please don’t throw it against the wall smashing it into a thousand pieces before I see. Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Psychology | Hanukkah Wishes and Communication

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP

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 »