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Amber Stark

Historic SIOP-DOJ Partnership Hits Six Month Mark

Nearly 6 months ago, SIOP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). The COPS Office is the federal component of DOJ responsible for advancing community policing nationwide by providing resources needed to reduce crime and build trust between law enforcement and the communities served. The MOU is the first the DOJ COPS Office has signed with a scientific society and is a product of the SIOP Policing Initiative’s ongoing engagement in the evidence-based policing reform policy space at the federal level. The MOU is aimed at enabling SIOP and DOJ COPS collaboration to increase the knowledge and application of I-O psychology in law enforcement and to help cultivate more safe and effective law enforcement workplaces.

In the first six months of the MOU, SIOP’s Policing Initiative has worked tirelessly to build a strong foundation for the partnership by using this new platform to support numerous efforts to instill understanding of I-O psychology and its importance to federal officials, stakeholder organizations, and state and local law enforcement agencies. Efforts by the core team of volunteer SIOP Policing Initiative members have included joining a DOJ podcast on applying I-O to overcome recruiting shortages; supporting a newsletter article on applying I-O to optimize officer wellbeing that was widely circulated among law enforcement agencies at all levels; presenting to a large group of DOJ COPS Office staff on I-O psychology findings and applicability to policing; and meeting with the Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC), a large consortia of national policing and community organizations that supports COPS Office grantees with technical assistance.

These engagements have been very well-received and have advanced the longstanding goals of the Policing Initiative to broaden understanding and application of evidence-based I-O psychology findings in policing practices and reforms. The Policing Initiative working group holds monthly meetings with DOJ’s COPS Office to seek new ways to expand their reach.

This COPS Office partnership is part of a broader effort by the Policing Initiative to support I-O psychology in federal policing legislation, agency activities, and advisory conversations.  The core working group seeks to serve as a conduit between federal decisionmakers and the broader SIOP membership. The working group will incorporate other SIOP members based on expertise related to relevant needs of federal stakeholders.

SIOP members interested in learning more about the initiative, or SIOP advocacy efforts in general, can email GREAT Committee Chair Kristin Saboe at kristin.saboe@gmail.com.  

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