Re: Police Officer? -
December 14th 2009, 04:53 AM
This is one area where the laws differ greatly between Canada and the US. Part of the course in forensic psychology dealt with polygraphs and the main type of polygraph used mostly for job applications is a relevant/irrelevant technique. Traditionally it was a method used for interrogating but it's been abandoned as that but the same method remains for employment screening. So, for a crime, they'll ask the suspect relevant questions (i.e. did you stab Mr. A?) and irrelevant questions (i.e. is today Thursday?). It's the poorest polygraph method for interrogating and the idea behind it is to see if people react more to relevant questions or not. For employment screening, generally they ask about drug abuse, antisocial acts (people tend to not know what antisocial means so google it), honesty and any laws/rules you may have broken in the past.
I'm not certain as to whether they'll go after the older guys or not, as if they ask if you've been with older guys, it's a yes or no question. However, I think a question like that wouldn't likely be asked because it's very personal and deals possibly with sexual history. But I further doubt it because aside from it being a very personal and specific question, they would need you to reveal the names of them. I would assume though that you're safe because they'd be more concerned with any psychiatric and medical problems, criminal history, substance abuse and so forth.
You'd likely have to do psychological tests, such as pen-and-paper ones, although I'm not sure what the ones are for the US as the course and book was regarding Canada, although some US and European studies were cited sometimes. I'd assume though that the MMPI-2 would be used as it's very common (not sure if you'd get the long or short version). Police forces have their own specialized psychological tests, so you'd have to go through those also. They would likely inquire about your past in terms of criminal activity and other factors.
What they cannot do though (at least in Canada since it's a federal law I think) is look into your medical history. They also cannot ask you directly about it, if the laws are the same. What they can do though is ask something like "do you have any mental/physical disorders that can affect your ability to work effectively?". That is legal and that is where you need to make a judgment. So since they cannot inquire directly about your medical (including psychiatric) past, they use their own specialized assessments.
If you were applying for Canadian police, then I could list out the ones they'd use. But I think the MMPI-2 is a likely one. They may or may not use risk assessment tools, such as VRAG, HCR-20, Static-99, etc... . I'm not sure though what it is for the US.
I'm not sure what position you're applying for in the police department, but if it's for things to do with interrogating or interviewing suspects, then I'd look up some stuff from the APLS as they have immense influence and they're based in the USA. What you may find out (and this is supported by research and the APLS), is that the techniques that are very useful for interrogating and interviewing, such as eyewitness interviewing, aren't really used by the police. Sometimes they are, especially if those officers are trained in it.