Continuing education has been the lifeblood of my development as a psychologist in the law enforcement field. The Police Psychological Services Section (PPSS) of IACP exists to serve as a resource for the Association on psychologically-related issues across the four primary domains of practice: assessment, intervention, operations, and consultation. The Section provides continuing education and training to the Association and its members to promote ethical and empirically-based practices. The Section also develops and maintains a set of current guidelines as a resource for commonly encountered police psychological activities, such as conducting pre-employment psychological evaluations and responding to officer-involved shootings.
This year, the PPSS will again offer a specific training “track” at the 2015 Annual IACP Conference and Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. My attendance and participation in the IACP conference and the PPSS has enhanced my career and improved the services I provide to the law enforcement agencies with whom I work. One of the most important aspects of my participation in the PPSS has been the ability to collaborate with other police psychologists and individuals who have helped to make this field a unique specialty. These networking opportunities have led to personal and professional relationships that have greatly expanded my knowledge base and skills within the field.
The conference’s PPSS Track appeals not only to police psychologists but also to the police chiefs in attendance. Many of the educational sessions include law enforcement personnel as presenters and the information is relevant to a wide audience. One of my favorite sessions will take place on Monday, October 26, entitled Current Issues in Police Psychology. This is an informal two-hour presentation where the police psychologists discuss various topics of current relevance and interest. It also offers the police chiefs in attendance the opportunity to ask questions about and get answers to various issues and concerns they face in addressing the mental health issues of their personnel.
The PPSS will offer two full days of educational presentations in Chicago. Several sessions of particular note, given their relevance to the current state of policing, include:
- Law Enforcement Families-The Forgotten Community: How to Support Law Enforcement Families During Times of Community Outrage – This panel discussion will address the development of programming offered to law enforcement families who may be struggling with the backlash of negative portrayals of police in the media.
- Building Resiliency Before Mass Casualty Events – Presenters will discuss a new manual developed by the U.S. Department of Justice to assist chiefs in understanding how to prepare for and deal with mass casualty events.
- Psychological Perspectives on Police Reform – Presenters will provide recommendations on how to apply the science and practice of psychology to sustain collaborative reform within law enforcement.
Whether you are a seasoned police psychologist, a psychologist interested in getting into the field of police and public safety psychology, or a member of law enforcement, I encourage to attend this year’s IACP conference and exposition in Chicago, Illinois. It is certainly an event that I look forward to each year.
Visit the IACP official conference website to learn more about the Police Psychological Services Section Track and the other educational opportunities available at IACP 2015.