DrBakedGoods

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I'm currently doing pre-employment evals for potential police officers and I was wondering if anyone else was in the same boat or could give me any advice.

Given the current state of the country and the anti-police sentiment (and I guess the overall politics of the country), I feel like it's important to understand how an applicant views these issues.

If you ARE doing evals.. Are you asking any questions regarding a potential applicant's views on the protests/police brutality? And if so, what kind of questions?

If you aren't -- Would you if you were in my position/what kind of questions do you think might be relevant for screening purposes.
 

Justanothergrad

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I'd focus on it if it was clearly related to outcome criterions I could objectively and validly predict. Namely, I would want clear indications about how to interpret any response they might give and I'm a bit skeptical that there is good guidance for that. Like, what answer would qualify you to say their answer is bad / worthy of you deeming them not appropriate for pre-employment eval. And frankly, this seems like something totally ripe with clinical bias and difficult to determine response bias. The MMPI-2-RF has a fairly robust literature for related predictions so I would, personally, likely rely on that or something similar.
 
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sb247

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I'm currently doing pre-employment evals for potential police officers and I was wondering if anyone else was in the same boat or could give me any advice.

Given the current state of the country and the anti-police sentiment (and I guess the overall politics of the country), I feel like it's important to understand how an applicant views these issues.

If you ARE doing evals.. Are you asking any questions regarding a potential applicant's views on the protests/police brutality? And if so, what kind of questions?

If you aren't -- Would you if you were in my position/what kind of questions do you think might be relevant for screening purposes.
What are the answers you want?

are those answers validated for outcomes or your opinion?
 

BuckeyeLove

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I would be really hesitant asking those types of questions. There are multiple solid texts on doing these evals, and stick with the RF. These are inherently psycho-legal evaluations at their core, so a healthy dose of forensic skepticism, as well as restraint in what you are specifically writing is needed.
 

psych.meout

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OP, I get why you want to ask these questions and why you'd want to screen out candidates who are prone to abusing their power as officers, but as others have said, it's important to not exceed the bounds of the literature and what you can objectively assess and predict.

Just because something seems intuitively helpful to ask about or assess doesn't mean it's actually leads to the outcome for which you are hoping. I know this only anecdotal, but it's a salient example to illustrate my point. James Kueng, one of the officers involved in George Floyd's murder and who is biracial, specifically joined the Minneapolis police force to help make it more equitable and fight against institutional and cultural biases that have led to racial disparities in policing. Yet, he stood by while his training officer, Derek Chauvin, killed George Floyd.

So, think about what you would have asked Kueng when he was applying to be an officer. It seems apparent that he would have honestly and earnestly said he was against police brutality and racial discrimination against Black Americans, but yet he was still involved in one of the most notorious cases of police brutality and murder in recent memory. Thus, I would be highly skeptical that we currently have any empirically-based methods to assess for an individual's propensity to be involved in police brutality like this. I'm not saying it's impossible or that we won't eventually develop some research in this area, but rather that I just don't think we currently have the tools to assess this kind of thing and just simply asking about it will (A) screen out those stupid enough to be honest, (B) allow departments a method for selecting those who will conform to police culture, and/or (C) lack sensitivity to detect those who are susceptible to committing horrible acts but earnestly claim otherwise.
 

DrBakedGoods

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Thank you guys so much!

I definitely want to make sure my biases aren't getting in the way, and I agree -- I want to follow the literature and research as much as possible but still be able to use some clinical judgement.. It's more to screen out people stupid enough to say something egregious and stupid rather than making some arbitrary decision based on how well I "rank" their answer.

ie: I've had some applicants who have outright expressed xenophobic or racist beliefs while asking general questions about other aspects of their lives or when discussing their general policing beliefs.. In those cases I feel justified in my decision to believe they are unfit for the job.
 

WisNeuro

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Thank you guys so much!

I definitely want to make sure my biases aren't getting in the way, and I agree -- I want to follow the literature and research as much as possible but still be able to use some clinical judgement.. It's more to screen out people stupid enough to say something egregious and stupid rather than making some arbitrary decision based on how well I "rank" their answer.

ie: I've had some applicants who have outright expressed xenophobic or racist beliefs while asking general questions about other aspects of their lives or when discussing their general policing beliefs.. In those cases I feel justified in my decision to believe they are unfit for the job.
As the case in any forensic context, just make sure any thing you ask and document in the course of an evaluation can be adequately defended by you in front of both your state licensing board as well as in a civil case against you.
 

sb247

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Thank you guys so much!

I definitely want to make sure my biases aren't getting in the way, and I agree -- I want to follow the literature and research as much as possible but still be able to use some clinical judgement.. It's more to screen out people stupid enough to say something egregious and stupid rather than making some arbitrary decision based on how well I "rank" their answer.

ie: I've had some applicants who have outright expressed xenophobic or racist beliefs while asking general questions about other aspects of their lives or when discussing their general policing beliefs.. In those cases I feel justified in my decision to believe they are unfit for the job.
Like specifically what statement was racist or xenophobic?
 

erg923

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DrBakedGoods

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Like specifically what statement was racist or xenophobic?
Hard to be too specific because I don't want anyone who's also seen these interviews (supervisors, interns, supervisees) to know who I am.
But things such as... calling black people more aggressive (basically used that as the reasoning for a physical altercation), or referring to me as "one of the few good ones" (I'm black), or talking about how they have had issues getting along with people who aren't from this country.

Big yikes from me.
 

Justanothergrad

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Hard to be too specific because I don't want anyone who's also seen these interviews (supervisors, interns, supervisees) to know who I am.
But things such as... calling black people more aggressive (basically used that as the reasoning for a physical altercation), or referring to me as "one of the few good ones" (I'm black), or talking about how they have had issues getting along with people who aren't from this country.

Big yikes from me.
yikes. yeh.... those seem like issues where direct quotes can really make a point without a needed criterion to predict that point.
 

sb247

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Hard to be too specific because I don't want anyone who's also seen these interviews (supervisors, interns, supervisees) to know who I am.
But things such as... calling black people more aggressive (basically used that as the reasoning for a physical altercation), or referring to me as "one of the few good ones" (I'm black), or talking about how they have had issues getting along with people who aren't from this country.

Big yikes from me.
Yikes indeed
 

PsyDr

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@psych.meout I suspect that the case isn't really about IQ.

Dude was 46 years old when he applied to be a police officer. Got denied. Sued for age discrimination. It was only after suit was filed that the city brought up the issue of IQ. Maybe I'm wrong, but that just seems like an odd sequence of events.

 

Fan_of_Meehl

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OP, I get why you want to ask these questions and why you'd want to screen out candidates who are prone to abusing their power as officers, but as others have said, it's important to not exceed the bounds of the literature and what you can objectively assess and predict.

Just because something seems intuitively helpful to ask about or assess doesn't mean it's actually leads to the outcome for which you are hoping. I know this only anecdotal, but it's a salient example to illustrate my point. James Kueng, one of the officers involved in George Floyd's murder and who is biracial, specifically joined the Minneapolis police force to help make it more equitable and fight against institutional and cultural biases that have led to racial disparities in policing. Yet, he stood by while his training officer, Derek Chauvin, killed George Floyd.

So, think about what you would have asked Kueng when he was applying to be an officer. It seems apparent that he would have honestly and earnestly said he was against police brutality and racial discrimination against Black Americans, but yet he was still involved in one of the most notorious cases of police brutality and murder in recent memory. Thus, I would be highly skeptical that we currently have any empirically-based methods to assess for an individual's propensity to be involved in police brutality like this. I'm not saying it's impossible or that we won't eventually develop some research in this area, but rather that I just don't think we currently have the tools to assess this kind of thing and just simply asking about it will (A) screen out those stupid enough to be honest, (B) allow departments a method for selecting those who will conform to police culture, and/or (C) lack sensitivity to detect those who are susceptible to committing horrible acts but earnestly claim otherwise.
It also strikes me as insanely obvious that those with sociopathic/manipulative or Machiavellian tendencies would just give you the answer you want to hear (i.e., one that is politically-correct and one which they believe (probably correctly) will maximize their chances of 'passing' the interview). Those who are more honest--but who, obviously are not 'in favor' of police brutality--may actually be people of higher integrity/honesty and therefore less likely to be a bully or abuse their authority.

The field of psychology is strewn with the corpses of face-valid or folk wisdom theories that had the exact OPPOSITE results of what was intended.
 
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ClinicalABA

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@psych.meout I suspect that the case isn't really about IQ.

Dude was 46 years old when he applied to be a police officer. Got denied. Sued for age discrimination. It was only after suit was filed that the city brought up the issue of IQ. Maybe I'm wrong, but that just seems like an odd sequence of events.

One of the key points from the case PsyDr cited (emphasis mine)

"...it matters not whether the city`s decision was correct so long as it was rational."

The fact that the law can be- and often is- contrary to empiricism in this manner makes it a dangerous place for us to tread. In this case the court outright says that having an upper "intelligence" cutoff for police officers is unfounded, incorrect, and unwise, yet still rational (the manual says so!), so therefore is not a legal issue. Appeal to authority > empiricism.
 
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msc545

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I'm currently doing pre-employment evals for potential police officers and I was wondering if anyone else was in the same boat or could give me any advice.

Given the current state of the country and the anti-police sentiment (and I guess the overall politics of the country), I feel like it's important to understand how an applicant views these issues.

If you ARE doing evals.. Are you asking any questions regarding a potential applicant's views on the protests/police brutality? And if so, what kind of questions?

If you aren't -- Would you if you were in my position/what kind of questions do you think might be relevant for screening purposes.
As someone who has done these types of evals, I would suggest, for your own safety, that you forego asking any questions about police brutality, political issues, protests, or anything of the sort. You are unlikely to get honest answers (these questions have too much face validity), and if the applicant fails the exam, he (or his attorney) is likely to come back at you with this stuff if it goes to court. As another person mentioned, there is no evidentiary basis for such questions, and they would be very difficult to defend on any rational basis. Asking them and then failing the applicant based on his responses or even for other reasons is a good way to lose your job, get sued, and perhaps incur a license complaint.
 
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