Psychologists and Psychological Services in Urban Police Departments-A National Survey

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Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to survey urban police departments and determine the amount and type of psychologist involvement. The major aims of the study were to ascertain the number of psychologists employed, the characteristics of these psychologists, and the services they provided. One hundred seventy-four copies of a questionnaire were sent to cities throughout the nation. The survey assessed, in broad terms, the role that psychologists and psychological services have in police departments today. A 74% return (N = 130) of the questionnaires was obtained within 3 months of the initial mailing. Results show that the more populated an area, the more psychologists employed: Only 11% and 10%, respectively, for the two smaller urban groups, but 18% and 39% for the two larger groups (in ascending order). Full-time and part-time psychologists are employed in approximately equal numbers, but, on a national scale and for all population groups, neither is used as frequently as consultants. The majority (74%) of psychologists employed are at the PhD level. Most have a clinical background, though training in counseling or industrial psychology was significantly involved. Two points represent major findings of the study: the use of consultants rather than full-time employees, and the relatively great amount of time spent in applicant screening. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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