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Practical Police Psychology: Stress Management and Crisis Intervention for Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Laurence Miller Ph.D.
Date Published
320 pages
Based on a review of the literature on police psychology and law enforcement behavioral science, as well as the author's own clinical and practical experience, this book discusses the psychological aspects of police work under the paradigm of community policing and officers' management of their own personal stress.
Two major themes shape the book. One is the concept of community policing, which has become the model for local law enforcement in a growing number of jurisdictions. To be effective in community policing, patrol officers must be practical psychologists. The second theme relates to how law enforcement officers manage the stress in their own lives in the course of responding and reacting to on-duty incidents as well as their own family situations. After an introductory chapter on practical psychology, stress management, and crisis intervention in law enforcement, three chapters discuss the psychological aspects of street encounters with individuals and groups while on patrol, crisis intervention strategies for dealing with violent incidents while on patrol, and dealing with the mentally ill. Four chapters address critical incidents and traumatic stress. They discuss extreme stress management for police emergencies, critical incident stress, officer-involved shootings, and line-of-duty death. Specific types of on-duty crises are discussed in four of the chapters. They focus on hostage crises, suicide by cop (suspects attempting to place officers in a situation where they have no alternative but to use lethal force), police officer suicide, and the work of special units that perform undercover work and sex crimes investigations. The final three chapters address police administration and family life. Issues discussed are the practical management of problem officers, the psychological aspects of law enforcement administration and leadership, and officers' family stresses and how to manage them. Chapter bibliographies and a subject index