Police Psychology: Fake News
by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP
My first TV show appearance was in March 1991, a couple of days after the Rodney King Incident in Los Angeles. The president of the police union I worked with asked me to go along on a TV interview because the deck was stacked against him with a member of the ACLU and civil rights leaders as the other guests. The attacks were vicious against the union president at first, then I spoke up and said that many mental illness protocols show that “jumping to conclusions” is a type of delusional thinking that comes with narcissistic, histrionic and borderline personality disorders, and even worse comes with paranoid psychosis where conspiracy theories play out. The fact was we didn’t have any knowledge of what happened before the videotape of Rodney King, the toxicology report on him, or even his history. I suggested we should wait for those results to draw conclusions. That was not a popular idea with the anti-police persons, but it did shut them up, and gave the PBA president something to play off. History confirmed my contention. As it turns out, when the opening ten seconds of the video that the TV Station KTLA had edited out were shown, the officers were acquitted in state court. The press caused a reaction, created news, and once created it was not destroyed. Essentially, if that video were not to have riled masses, causing riots which enabled part of LA to be held hostage, this would have probably been handled internally by the department with the same results. One officer was later found to have made six unnecessary blows after King was subdued and a second officer (the second was the supervisor) were found guilty of a civil rights violation in federal court.
“Fake News” is no stranger to people in law enforcement. Name the police administrator (or psychologist) who hasn’t been misquoted (or misinterpreted) by the media, and I will show you someone that hasn’t spoken to the media very much. It is not endemic to all media, but it does show up a lot. It has gotten extreme lately on both political sides. Russian collusion, traitors by email, selling the country to enemies either by hotel room profits or donations, it is getting hard to distinguish what is news and what is not. Is it just our innate desire to find the needle of evil in the haystack of life? Or is it being fed to us to draw delusional conclusions that border on mental illness? Either way, psychology is definitely involved here. Read the rest of this entry »
Police Psychology | PTSD 4: Flashbacks
Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP
Of course, you are going to think I’ve lost it on this one, but it shows some merit. And it makes some sense logically. Researchers in England say that flashbacks from traumatic events can be moderated through playing Tetris right after the event occurs. That’s Tetris, the video game where you move puzzle pieces in all directions to make lines or blocks. etc. Makes you wonder if Candy Crush can be used for Ragin’ Anxiety and Donkey Kong and the Mario brothers could be used to sew up Open Heart Surgery!
So the thought is this: by playing a video game after a serious traumatic incident, you are stimulating your eye movement and concentration and that causes the brain to not be able to spend all its time to store long term memories, thus it doesn’t keep coming back into your head as much. In fact, in the medical journal called Molecular Psychiatry in March of this year told of a study that gave people Tetris after a traumatic incident and others were given a placebo or basically nothing. The Tetris group had 9 flashbacks the next week while the nothing groups had 23 flashback the next week. Pretty significant! Oxford University in England and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden said just 20 minutes of Tetris right after a traumatic incident was all that was needed to greatly reduce all PTSD effects. Scientific America reported the same effect in their study. In fact, case studies are cropping up all over saying that Tetris therapy is great at reducing flashbacks if given in the hospital after car accident, witnessing shootings and even rape. Let me get this right, (doctor calls out to nurse): scalpel…suture…bandage…Gameboy. This doesn’t make sense to me, but let’s look at it a little closer… Read the rest of this entry »
Police Psychology | Master Police Coaches:
“Building A Better Cop”
Marla Friedman, Police Psychologist
Born out of the academy, the Probationer is a blank slate. Mega assembly required running the gamut from appropriate deployment of de-escalation and tactical skills training, mental health and suicide prevention techniques, and development of a mentoring relationship, which transitions throughout their career and remains into retirement. This cradle to grave approach (Badge of Life) supports the Officer at every stage and creates and sustains the safest working environment to consistently execute uncompromised law enforcement service delivery.
Many have asked, what is a Master Police Coach (MPC)? It is a Field Training Officer who has exceptional skills in the following areas: interpersonal relationships, jurisdictional geography and orientation, motor vehicle operation and the use of emergency equipment. These of course are some of the critical skills all officers need to know. MPCs excel in these areas and others. Read the rest of this entry »
Police Psychology | Divorce Part 4: Starting a New Life
by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP
So, it’s done! The lawyers are gone, the courts are played out, the property and kids are separated and one of you is living in the house or it has been sold. You are situated in a comfortable but “not exactly home” place of your own without a spouse living with you. What do you do now?
The last time you dated you were really young, in fact in your twenties, if not your teens. There has been a lot of life since then. Internet dating has taken off, but we all have heard the horror stories of that. There is no college bar anymore, at least for middle age people. Perhaps you already have a girl or guy lined up, maybe even dated them while you were still with your ex. What problems happen now? Could this ever work? The good news is you are free again to remake your life. The bad news is this is the time people make huge mistakes. We are all going to deal with this in ourselves, a colleague or a friend, so you might as well read below. Read the rest of this entry »
Police Psychology | MS-13
by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP
Last week four young men were murdered on Long Island, brutally murdered with machetes. Rumors say their tongue were cut out and they were castrated. It is obvious some sociopathic pleasure was derived from their mutilation. Could it be an initiation for a gang, an attempt to leave a gang, or perhaps some kids who denied an invitation to join a gang? It was a message killing. You see, it was the MO of a few of gang killings in the last year when they hacked up a couple of teenage girls with machetes one town over, so they figured it was the same gang. Long Island, home of the uppity Hamptons, the Gold Coast, the Great Gatsby and New York City’s billionaires. And it is happening more than just on Long Island.
Yes, MS-13 is everywhere and lately in the news. It is rumored that gang initiation means you must be beaten up by four or five gang members or you must brutally beat someone else, or kill them. For girls, it means you must allow yourself to be gang raped by at least six members. “Jumping in” is what undergoing the initiation is called, but some gang members are spared the dramatic beat downs. All must have someone in the gang recommend them, unless they don’t. The rules are just not clear from group to group. Why would someone join such a gang? Read the rest of this entry »