Managing Professional Concerns in the Delivery of Psychological Services to the Police
It is difficult to say with precision how long psychologists have been delivering services to police departments but it is certainly the case that their involvement began to increase to a noticeable level in the late 1960s when Dr. Martin Reiser became the first psychologist to work full-time for a police department (Reiser, 1972). As police psychologists have become more visible, working for a police agency is increasingly considered a career option for both new and experienced psychologists. However, the police psychologist must be prepared to confront and resolve a number of issues that will arise as he or she enters a non-health-related agency that is not familiar with, or necessarily sympathetic with, the professional concerns of a psychologist (e.g., confidentiality). The psychologist must maintain a sense of professional identity in this environment and adhere to standards of conduct despite pressure to do otherwise. What follows is a description of some of the concerns that can face a police psychologist and how to manage them.