Three case studies are reported that involve programs in Denver, San Antonio, and Atlanta to prevent the excessive use of force by police officers and that focus on police psychology practices.
Four criteria were formulated to study the excessive use of force by police officers: (1) the police department used its police psychologist as a resource for strategic planning to reduce excessive force; (2) the program was designed as an innovative psychological intervention that responded to broader organizational issues instead of meeting only crisis needs of individual police officers; (3) the program was data-driven, prevention-based, proactive in nature, and designed as an intervention in an organizational problem at its earliest phase of development; and (4) the program reflected how a police department could use police psychologist skills to inform policy. Programs designed to confront excessive police force included advanced patrol officer skills training in Denver, pre-employment psychological screening in San Antonio, and the development of an early warning system in Atlanta to identify police officers involved in the excessive use of force. It was determined the three programs touch on important human resource issues related to preventing the excessive use of force by police officers: selecting the right police officers, giving police officers the right tools, and proactively supervising police officers to help them correct performance problems. The interview schedule used in the three cities is appended. 4 references
Date Published: January 1, 1997
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