Introduction to Forensic Psychology
April 23, 2012
Roles of Psychologists
Psychologists do not only study offenders, but victims, law enforcement staff, the juror, any expert witness, judges, prison guards, and parole officers in the legal system. This responsibility comes with the need to follow strict ethical guidelines while producing and communicating precise information to explain specific legal situations or settle legal disagreements, (Greene, Fortune, Heibrun, and Nietzel 2006).
Psychologists play an important role in law enforcement agencies according to Davis (1998). These roles include organizational development advisors, submitting performance results assessment advisors, and police psychologists. Police psychologists are involved in law enforcement agencies either as a member of the agency’s permanent staff, providing consultation, psychological services, and instruction for their agency, or are used as outside advisors providing their services and advice under contract. The psychologists providing these services have good communications with the police chief and other higher positions within the agency. Some duties of a police psychologist also include officer candidate assessment, office risk assessment, hostage negotiations, stress management, and counseling for officers and their families if needed. They may also perform other duties such as police management and training, teaching at the academy, and in some cases work with sex crime and homicide units on cases providing a psychological view during the investigation, (Davis 1998).
Some ethical issues involved in police psychology that can bring problems for these individuals unfortunately have little research. There are several common ethical issues, which are grouped into 6 areas. These areas are confidentiality, dealing with conflicts between agency needs, and the standards of the psychological profession, the duality of the relationships between them, the...