Frequently Asked Questions
What Type of Provider Should We Use For These Evaluations?
There is a debate currently taking place in the world of Psychology over who should be doing these evaluations. This debate has turned into a “turf war” between Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychologists and Clinical (and Counseling) Psychologists. I/O psychologists argue that these are business evaluations and should be conducted by individuals with business training. Clinical psychologists argue that their training related to understanding the whole person in addition to research principles and testing allows them to do these evaluations more effectively.
Dr. Tyre and Dr. Childs believe that this debate is misguided and unnecessary. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has produced Guidelines for Consulting Police Psychologists that detail the competencies required to conduct these types of evaluations. The ultimate point of these guidelines is that the provider must understand the public safety subculture. The issue of I/O training versus Clinical training does not enter into it. What is of primary importance is, “Do you understand the population you are evaluating?” For the vast majority of providers, this has far more to do with what you learn after you complete your doctoral program than what you learned during your doctoral program.
Dr. Tyre and Dr. Childs understand the unique stressors associate with public safety positions. Chiefs and Sheriffs alike are comfortable working with our firm because we speak their language and understand their world. This has little to do with our educational backgrounds and much more to do with our current knowledge of best practices, national trends, case law, and especially public safety subcultures. Whether a provider is an I/O psychologist or a Clinical psychologist is, in our view, irrelevant. What matters is, “Does your provider know enough to be considered a Police and Public Safety Psychologist and would they be comfortable referring to themselves as such in court?”
Are There Limitations To Psychological Evaluations?
In short, “Yes.” We would love to tell you that our process is perfect and that our results are 100% guaranteed to be accurate, but that simply is not true. If anyone tells you that their process is flawless, be very wary. There is a wealth of research literature supporting the use of pre-employment psychological evaluations. Most states require pre-employment psychological evaluations when hiring for public safety positions. However, there are limitations to these evaluations.
At the end of the day, many hiring managers want to know if they are hiring someone who is likely to misuse their duty weapon or physically assault a citizen. They want to know, “Is this person going to go off and shoot someone or kill someone?” We are aware that some providers tell departments that their testing process can predict this type of violent aggression. Be very careful. If a psychologist tells you that they can predict violence, you are being sold Snake Oil. Psychologists simply cannot predict violence or aggression to the point of violence. We can identify characteristics such as impulsivity, anger proneness, and even aggression to a degree, but we cannot predict violent behavior. If and when someone figures out an accurate predictor of violence, you will know it - it will be front page news across the world. We are not there yet, but you will be told otherwise by some providers.
How should I dress for the evaluation?
Business casual attire is preferred, however, we understand that many candidates schedule their appointments immediately following work or long shifts and may present in more casual attire.
What can I expect when I schedule an evaluation?
When you arrive for your appointment, you will be met by Dr. Childs and asked to complete several standardized, psychological tests on a computer. You will also complete a face-to-face interview with Dr. Childs. You will be asked about various aspects of your life (mental health history, work and educational background, hobbies and interests, etc). It may be helpful to bring a resume or work history with you to reference during the interview. The entire process typically lasts three to four hours.
It is understood that this process can be anxiety provoking. Try to get a good night's sleep, eat a good breakfast or lunch before your evaluation, and arrive approximately 5 minutes early if possible to minimize your anxiety. Please note, the schedule is very tight and arriving more than 5-10 minutes early can be problematic as your evaluation will likely not be started earlier than the scheduled time. If you arrive much earlier, there are many stores, coffee shops, and restaurants in the area where you can pass the time prior to the evaluation.