Psychology as it Is Applied Research Paper

Pages: 4 (1230 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

¶ … psychology as it is applied to law enforcement and how the role of psychology has evolved. Be sure to focus on how its role has changed over the years and how it has affected law enforcement.

In the 19th century, mainstream psychologists believed that criminality was either inherently determined as an inheritable trait passed down from generation to generation within families or otherwise biologically determined by specific idiosyncrasies in individuals. During the 20th century, psychology evolved tremendously as a field and incorporated much more complex and useful approaches that reflected an understanding that criminality was not ordinarily a function of biology or traits that were inherited genetically. Instead, psychologists learned that the factors that typically contribute to criminality are those related to early foundational experiences in the family of origin (particularly within the context of parenting), exposure to deviance as models of behavioral influence, and societal dynamics in the realm of socioeconomic opportunity.

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By the late 20th Century, the law enforcement community had begun making much more varied us of psychology, such as in the process of criminal profiling by which criminal investigators try to narrow the field of likely suspects by virtue of the possible personality traits and psychological themes considered to be consistent with specific types of crimes. More broadly, psychology has since been incorporated into law enforcement in various ways in connection with evaluating suitable candidates for policing, such as through the use of psychological testing and evaluation as a fundamental component of the application process for police officer candidates. Likewise, industrial psychology has become a part of policing in connection with helping to train police officers, to identify signs of possible stress, fatigue, and vocational burnout, as well as to counsel officers after involvement in traumatic experiences on the job or the loss of partners in the line of duty.

Research Paper on Psychology as it Is Applied Assignment

2. Analyze the professional issues caused by incorporating psychologists into law enforcement through examining standard policy regarding confidentiality for a police psychologist. Be sure to address the various roles of the psychologist in handling records, in being a counselor vs. evaluator, and in providing assistance during critical incident debriefing.

Psychologists working in a law enforcement vocational environment face challenges and ethical dilemmas that are somewhat unique. They must balance their responsibilities to individual officers who, as clients, are entitled to the same types of guarantees of confidentiality as civilian clients against their obligation to law enforcement agencies and to the wider community to report psychological findings of potential unfitness for duty. More specifically, in their role as counselors, psychologists are bound to maintain the confidentiality of information disclosed by their clients and records maintained in that regard.

Meanwhile, in their role as evaluators, psychologists must recognize symptoms and psychological conditions that could potentially render a police officer unfit for duty in ways that could result in harm to members of the community, or to fellow officers, or in liability for the police agency if those symptoms and conditions are not reported. Precisely because of the nature of the authority vested in police officers, their exposure to situations involving psychological stress and the need to exercise sound judgment, and because of the dire consequences of allowing police officers with psychological issues to continue working without effective treatment, police psychologists must err on the side of public safety where client confidentiality concerns conflict with public safety.

In the context of critical incident debriefing, police psychologists fill critical roles in helping officers involved in potentially traumatic situations avoid some of the negative psychological consequences those types of exposure can trigger without debriefing and longer-term counseling. Typical situations in which police psychologists provide such assistance include officer involved shootings, witnessing traumatic harm to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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