Forensic Psychology: Fitness for Duty Evaluation

Topics: Psychology, Law enforcement agency, Psychiatry Pages: 9 (2763 words) Published: January 28, 2012
APP Final Project HargroveH

App Final Project HargroveH
Fitness For Duty Evaluation

Abstract
The fitness-for-duty evaluation is an assessment of a police officer's psychological ability to securely and effectively perform their job. Officers may be referred or mandated when an officer experiences a work-related injury but is usually in response to questions about an officer’s ability to perform his duty because of psychological factors. The nature of fitness-for-duty evaluations is different from other psychological services in that they involve a mandatory referral to the psychologist and fitness information is communicated to the department. Thus, specific issues of psychologist training and knowledge are crucial.

Fitness for duty evaluation
Police Psychologists play substantial roles in the employment and maintenance of law enforcement. A main role the psychologist plays is in the area of psychological assessment. The Fitness for duty evaluation (FFDE) assesses and evaluates a police officer's personality, psychology, intelligence, and overall fit for the line of work. This type of assessment is also frequently conducted through pre-employment psychological screenings. This paper briefly addresses the pre-employment psychological screening. However, the primary focus is on the forensic psychologist’s role as it applies to the FFDE. Pre-employment psychological screenings are designed to identify unsuitable police candidates. Testing has become more complex over the years in order to detect issues not easily identified in earlier standard testing. (Detrick & Chibnall, 2006). Several tests, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and the Inwald Personality Inventory (IPI), have become more utilized for this purpose over the years . Research has established that these tests, particularly the IPI, tend to be successful in predicting negative indicators for aspects such as officer performance after training (Scogin, Schumacher, Gardner, &Chaplin, 1995). It has also been found that The IPI and MMPI have also proven effective in detecting dishonest test answers. Importantly, it has been suggested the test detects is best at identifying unsophisticated deceivers while superior ones are more successful in cheating the tests (Borum & Stock, 1993). Tests such as the NEO Personality Inventory-Revised (NEO PI-R) is frequently used as a predict recruits that will perform well once on the job (Detrick & Chibnall, 2006). Other research (Detrick & Chibnall, 2006) suggests that the NEO PI-R is able to foresee which recruits will perform well as officers. Some experts also believe that the NEO PI-R may be utilized in recognizing weaknesses in desirable officer candidates and then strengthening these areas. Fitness-for-duty evaluations (FFDEs) are often in response to an officer’s display of some form of questionable behavior. These behaviors may include aspects such as stress, excessive force, substance abuse, psychological disorders, depression, or family problems. The evaluation is conducted in order to determine several key factors. These include the decision as to if the officer should continue at present duty level, if treatment or intervention is needed, or if job task modifications are necessary. The assessment typically comprises a review of the officer's records. Aspects of the record such as awards, commendations, and reprimands are measured. Additionally, individual sessions with the officer are often conducted. Interviews with family are often conducted as well. Lastly, a medical examination is frequently recommended to establish or rule out other issues affecting the officer (Bartol & Bartol, 2008) In addition to use for recruitment, Psychological tests such as The Operational Police Stress Questionnaire (PSQOp) and the Organizational Police Stress Questionnaire (PSQ-Org) are frequently utilized to in both recruitment and to...

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