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Taking Applied Police Psychology into the 21st Century Via the Web

James E. Kuthy
Center for Organizational and Personnel Police Psychology

The Center for Organizational and Personnel Police Psychology (also known as copp-psychology) is the only national organization primarily dedicated to law enforcement organizational and personnel issues. The Center was formed to share information and research for the benefit of all in the spirit of fellowship.

The Center for Organizational and Personnel Police Psychology is open to psychologists working with and for law enforcement agencies, and to law enforcement supervisors who work in the organizational or personnel areas. The Center also has associate and student memberships for those interested in law enforcement organizational and personnel psychology but who do not meet the minimum requirements for full membership.

There are many law enforcement-related organizational and personnel psychology challenges that the Center will be examining including: motivation, culture/climate, leadership, organizational change, turnover, decision making, groups/teams, intergroup conflict, participation, socialization/careers, work and family, gender/diversity, aging, ethics, stress, selection, testing, training, job analysis, job performance, performance appraisal, compensation, HR management and job attitudes. Unfortunately, prior general research in these areas has often failed to address the unique cultural demands of the law enforcement community. This frequently results in faulty action being taken with disastrous consequences. Organizational and personnel problems in law enforcement often requires specialized research and solutions.

The Center does this by encouraging, and eventually sponsoring, research and training related to law enforcement organizational and personnel issues. It should be noted that the Center does not intend to act as a test developer or to compete with consultants. Instead, it shares information and research with consultants so they can provide better services. The Center also shares information and research with law enforcement supervisors so they can become better educated about the unique solutions organizational and personnel psychology might provide for the problems they face. It is a win-win situation for all concerned.

In addition, the Center strives to advance the professional practice and scientific status of applied law enforcement organizational/personnel psychology by developing a certification process to recognize qualified psychologists who contribute to this field. The Center believes that qualified industrial-organizational and personnel psychologists deserve recognition for their continuing contributions toward enhancing law enforcement professionalism and that these certified professionals should be permitted to use the title of "police psychologist."

To help achieve these ends, the Center for Organizational and Personnel Police Psychology hosts a website at www.copp-psychology.org that serves as the communication focal point for law enforcement organizational and personnel professionals. This website:

  • Provides a place for social scientists and practitioners in law enforcement organizational and personnel areas to network and share information in a spirit of fellowship.

  • Offers a bibliography of published and unpublished articles relating to law enforcement organizational and personnel issues. These citations come from a wide variety of sources including, but not limited to: peer reviewed scientific psychology, sociology, law and business journals; law enforcement publications; and government sources. In addition to those articles that are related specifically to law enforcement organizational or personnel issues, the bibliography also includes research that features law enforcement personnel as participants.

  • Highlights news stories relating to police organizational and personnel issues of interest including recent court decisions and research findings.

  • Matches researchers who wish to conduct basic research on organizations that are willing to have research performed. This is an excellent tool for colleges and universities to find organizations where "real-life" research can be conducted. Many private consultants do not have the time available to conduct basic research which will be published for the benefit of all, so this is an important tool for the advancement of the science and practice of applied police psychology.

  • Posts free job listings for organizational and personnel positions related to law enforcement. Unlike other job listing services that list a wide variety of public sector positions (e.g. city manager to garbage supervisor), this free resource is limited only to police organizational and personnel-related positions.

  • Provides a calendar of events that highlights law enforcement organizational and personnel issues. For example, few people appear to know that The International Association of Chiefs of Police holds an annual training seminar on law enforcement assessment centers and other related selection issues which is open to non-IACP members.

  • Features a "Hall of Fame" to recognize those who have made major contributions to the field of organizational and personnel police psychology.

  • Links to other web sites relating to police personnel and organizational issues, such as: fraternal and professional organizations, government resources, and college/university databases.

  • Expands with the needs of the community it serves. For example, the Center for Organizational and Personnel Police Psychology plans to host an "on-line" journal which will peer-review and publish articles relating to organizational and personnel police psychology issues.

In addition to our web site, the Center is in the early stages of creating an archive of unpublished scientific papers featuring law enforcement organizational and personnel issues. Once catalogued, these articles will be made available to members. All too often important law enforcement related research is presented at conferences and never seen again. This will be an opportunity for this type of previously unpublished research to gain the exposure it deserves and to give those in the field a chance to tap into this long-neglected resource. Hopefully, this will also encourage additional research on issues that were initially raised in unpublished studies but never fully explored.

And finally, the Center is working towards sponsoring training seminars that focus on the needs of the law enforcement organizational and personnel community.

This paper has served to present the rationale for, and the activities of, the Center for Organizational and Personnel Police Psychology. As a newly formed organization, it is craving exposure to an audience that has no one place to turn for its law enforcement organizational and personnel issues. For those interested in obtaining more information, we invite you to visit our web site at www.copp-psychology.org or write to us at the address below.

James E. Kuthy
Executive Director
The Center for Organizational and Personnel Police Psychology
P.O. Box 9054
Akron, OH 44305

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