Police psychologists (PS) have many roles in the police force. They conduct pre-employment screenings for police and public safety personnel. The police psychologist will also conduct fitness for duty evaluations for police officers who have evidence against them indicating the police officer is unable to safely perform their tasks of a person in law enforcement. The police psychologist will train police officers how to work in crisis situations like hostage negotiation teams/hostage barricade team. The police department psychologist will teach the police officer crime prevention techniques. The police psychologist also provides clinical counseling to police officers and their families. Police psychologists help police officers deal with trauma and stress through clinical counseling. Counseling programs include resilience, life skills building and peer counseling. As wonderful and as respectful the title sounds there is a major problem with the police psychologist.
There is little love or respect for the Department Police Psychologist, and there is a good reason why. Trust.
If your a police officer and have went through a critical incident, your journey to recovery will start with talking. This talking will no doubt begin with a department psychologist or a contracted pyschologist that claims to have some experience in that field. I dont claim to be an expert on Police Psychologists, but I can claim to know what they are capable of doing when used the right way, and the wrong way. And in my experience, many departments use the department psychologist in ways that are both counter productive and in some instances illegal. It is important that you know your rights and protect yourself from the Rogue Department Psychologist (RDP).
Please understand that this article is NOT to undermine the importance or the ability to help from a Department Police Psychologist, but rather to put them into perspective. The fact remains the Department Police Psychologist works for the City, State or Federal Government and with that employment comes that age old question of where the patients best interest start and stop? The Department Police Psychologist will always say that they have the patients welfare as the priority when they are asked. What else would you expect them to say? When talking to them, especially under mandated sessions, remember that their first and foremost priority is to protect the department and the city and here in lies one of several reasons in that paradox of trust. For this reason we do not recommend the injured officers own internal Department Police Psychologist to render their PTSD treatment. Request treatment if possible one level higher jurisdiction wise than you are. For example if you are a City Employee go to the State Police. If you are county, request a major city.
One could and internally do argue that there are oaths and laws that protect the officers confidentiality and records. However, if you have or do work for the government you know this to be subjective. In this murky gray water comes the misuse of the Department Police Psychologist by some Administrations and Command. They become an offensive tool to strike an employee on a PERSONAL level, not on a professional level. As a real example, I know of a female officer who was passed over for promotion yet performed and tested at a higher level than the golden boy who was promoted. She filed a grievance and as a consequence was ordered to go see the Department Police Psychologist. Because procedures dictate that the Department (City) may at any time evaluate an officer she had to comply with the order.
More To Follow. Questions? Leave a comment.