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Psychological Issues Within Law Enforcement


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A short educational presentation for Psychological Issues Law Enforcement encounter.

Published in: Law
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Psychological Issues Within Law Enforcement

  1. 1. Presented by: Doug Aaron, Mike Green Derrik Post & Andrew Whelton
  2. 2. Andrew Welton
  3. 3. U.S. law enforcement officers and other officials like judges, prosecutors, and security guards have been given tremendous power by local, state, and federal government agencies—authority they must have to enforce the law and ensure justice in our country. These powers include the authority to detain and arrest suspects, to search and seize property, to bring criminal charges, to make rulings in court, and to use deadly force in certain situations.
  4. 4.  police misconduct is any excessive force, sexual assault, intentional false arrests, or the intentional fabrication of evidence resulting in a loss of liberty to another are all considered form of police misconduct but  -a basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion as a reason to discriminate against someone is also police misconduct
  5. 5.  it’s a federal crime for anyone acting under “color of law” to willfully deprive or conspire to deprive a person of a right protected by the Constitution or U.S. law. ◦ “Color of law” simply means the person is using authority given to him or her by a local, state, or federal government agency.
  6. 6. • Federal laws that address police misconduct include both criminal and civil statutes. These laws cover the actions of State, county, and local officers, including those who work in prisons and jails. In addition, several laws also apply to Federal law enforcement officers. The laws protect all persons in the United States (citizens and non-citizens).
  7. 7.  Police misconduct is criminally punishable as most other crimes. It can result in anything from a fine to incarceration depending on the seriousness of the offense.
  8. 8.  Police Misconduct Provision ◦ This law makes it unlawful for State or local law enforcement officers to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. In order to be covered by this law, the misconduct must constitute a "pattern or practice" -- it may not simply be an isolated incident.  The types of conduct covered by this law can include, among other things, excessive force, discriminatory harassment, false arrests, coercive sexual conduct, and unlawful stops, searches or arrests.
  9. 9.  Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ◦ This law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion by State and local law enforcement agencies that receive financial assistance from the Department of Justice.  This law prohibit both individual instances and patterns or practices of discriminatory misconduct, i.e., treating a person differently because of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion.
  10. 10.  Exclusionary rule: evidence that is obtained in violation of the fourth amendment in inadmissible in the criminal of the person whose rights were violated. ◦ Fruit of the poisonous tree: the exclusionary rule extends not only to the direct products of the illegality but to “secondary evidence” as well which is any evidence obtained as a result of the evidence that was discovered in the initial illegal search.
  11. 11. History and Cases Mike Green
  12. 12.  Misconduct ◦ Procedural- violation of police department rules and regulations ◦ Criminal- violation of state and federal laws ◦ Unconstitutional- violation of citizens’ civil rights  Corruption ◦ Abuse of police authority for personal gain ◦ Includes:  Bribery  Extortion  Both are an abuse of police authority
  13. 13.  Building Suspicion to Investigate ◦ (16 DEC. 1997) Officer David Mack arrested for stealing $722,000 from LA Bank of America ◦ (MAR. 1998) Officers Brian Hewitt and Daniel Lujan fired for severly beating a handcuffed prisoner in an interrogation room ◦ All were part of Rampart CRASH (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) Unit  CRASH unit had a reputation of acting autonomously with little oversite
  14. 14.  (MAR. 1998) 6.5lbs of cocaine disappear in LA police evidence room ◦ Primary suspect Officer Raphael Perez (Rampart CRASH member)  Perez’s Criminal Trial ◦ Resulted in a hung jury ◦ Agrees to cooperate with an investigation of the Rampart CRASH unit ◦ Testimony revealed:  Officers in wrongful killings, indiscriminate beatings  Theft, drug dealing, planting of evidence or contraband on suspects  Fabricated or coerced false statements, perjured testimony in court
  15. 15.  Results: ◦ 75 officer implicated, 40 disciplined, 5 fired ◦ Approximately 200 lawsuits by claimed victims ◦ About 156 felony convictions dismissed or overturned
  16. 16.  Two organizations in charge of preventing and investigating police corruption ◦ Department of Investigation of NYC  Authorized to investigate any agency for the best interest of the city  Never was seriously concerned about police corruption ◦ Police force itself  Several units were tasked with anticorruption affairs  Were ineffective due to being fragmented, poorly coordinated, undermanned
  17. 17.  “Psycho Serpico” ◦ 1966 Frank Serpico joined the NYPD ◦ Was offered a share of a “pad” ◦ Reported such corruption to the captain of the Department of Investigation  The captain warned Serpico that those he is trying to reveal will find him “face-down in the East River” ◦ Continued to report corruption, yet was always rejected
  18. 18. • Serpico and 3 colleagues turn to the New York Times • Publicized accusations of corruption lead to a sensation of front-page headlines • Whiteman Knapp • Wall Street lawyer • Appointed to head a commission to investigate the police corruption (May 1970) • Commission concentrated on broader problem of corruption in the department rather than on individual officers
  19. 19.  Final Report (DEC. 1972) ◦ First sentence read, “We found corruption to be widespread” ◦ Corrupt cops were found to take:  Scores- individual payments  “Pads”- weekly or monthly payment collections from establishments such as gambling to be shared equally amongst the officers
  20. 20.  Placed corrupt officers into 2 categories: ◦ “meat eaters”- aggressively abused powers for personal benefits ◦ “grass eaters”- passively accepted payoffs that circumstances of police work would come their way  Many of the corruption issues were not eradicated due to the “blue code of silence”
  21. 21.  Abner Louima (AUG. 1997) ◦ Arrested during street disturbance ◦ Was beaten and sodimized with a stick by an officer ◦ Resulted in a 3 month hospitalization  Results of this misconduct ◦ 2 precinct commanders transferred ◦ 4 officers arrested, 2 were convicted to lengthy prison terms
  22. 22.  Amadou Diallo (FEB. 1999) ◦ Shot and killed by 4 police officers ◦ Officers fired 41 bullets, 19 hit ◦ Officers claimed Diallo was reaching for a gun, was actually his wallet  Results of this misconduct ◦ 4 officers charged with murder, all 4 later acquitted
  23. 23.  About 50 blows to King’s body with metal batons ◦ One or more directly to King’s face (which is against department policy) ◦ Several kicks were delivered to his body as well  Soon after being taken down and handcuffed, he was taken to the hospital
  24. 24.  Pre-employment  On the Job  Fitness for Duty Doug Aaron
  25. 25.  SO WHAT “TYPE” ARE WE? Remember, there’s well over 900,000 cops in the U.S. alone. These traits are based on LARGE samples of law enforcement personnel.  Compared to the general population cops tend to be:  Pragmatic Isolative  Prejudice Conservative  Suspicious Cynical  Assertive Action oriented
  26. 26.  MMPI 2  The MMPI-2 is designed with 10 clinical scales which assess 10 major categories of abnormal human behavior, and four validity scales, which assess the person’s general test-taking attitude and whether they answered the items on the test in a truthful and accurate manner.
  27. 27.  does police work change people...  females in 1st response, the imprint of learning, practice makes habit The Cognitive Frame...  cautious, proactive, solution focused, 24/7, ordered Aa Subgroup of First Responders...  police vs. fire  group cohesiveness combats inherent trust issues
  28. 28.  Law enforcement professionals make great clients!  Law enforcement professionals suffer the same illnesses as the rest of the population with an increase in prevalence in certain areas:  Anxiety disorders... PTSD, Panic Disorder  Substance Abuse Disorders.... alcoholism and  Prescription drug abuse  Marital difficulties
  29. 29.  A series of explosions has rocked the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, with gun battles on the streets.  The blasts were centered around Thamrin Street, a major shopping and business district close to foreign embassies and the United Nations offices.  So-called Islamic State (IS) said it carried out the attacks, a news agency linked to the militant group said.  Separately, Indonesian police said they suspected a local group allied to IS was to blame.  Indonesian President Joko Widodo described the attacks as an "act of terror".
  30. 30.  THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF JUSTICE  (NIJ) FOUND:  (1) Among officer’s with more than 10 years experience, the rate of alcohol abuse is twice that of the general population  (2) Officers reporting high stress (approximately 10% of all officers),  were 3 times more likely to report poor health, 3 times more likely to abuse spouses or partners, and 10 times more likely to experience depression than other officers  (3) Officers considered critical incidents (attending a police funeral and being investigated by internal affairs) to be their greatest stressor with job related stressors in second place (split second dcision making on the street and it’s potentially serious consequence)
  31. 31.  The suicide rate per 100,000 people for:  Law Enforcement Officers: 18  People ages 25-50: 14.6  Total US population: 11.1  Suicide as a problem solving model  “Image armor” creates unrealistic self goals/rules  Availability and comfort with firearms  #1 reason: experience of professional failure (termination, demotion, criminal arrest, feeling useless or powerless in role as police officer)
  32. 32.  It is contraindicated for a health program to also provide fitness for duty evaluations. It should always be contracted out, or exist in a separate section or bureau  Fitness for duty requests are common, but rarely given  When they are approved, major mental illness is usually the predominating reason SCPT, Bipolar Dx  Fitness for duty exams are usually PASSED, with or without caveats
  33. 33.  “Eligible for retirement at midlife, retirement can bring feelings of fear and isolation.”  Inclusion vs. Exclusion... the rule remains: loss of brotherhood  From simplicity to complexity, from mistrust to trust, from alienation to making peace with self and God  Pre-employment personality and psychological health are indicators for successful transition
  34. 34.  The National Institute of Justice - Police Foundation’s nationally representative telephone survey  925 randomly selected American police officers from 121 departments explores the officers’ views on the abuse of police authority.  Officers disagreed that it is acceptable to use more force than legally necessary—even to control someone who physically assaults an officer.  described serious incidents of police abuse (such as the Rodney King and Abner Louima cases) as isolated and very rare occurrences and indicated that their departments take a tough stand on police abuse.  the survey suggests that police abuse remains a problem that needs to be addressed by policymakers and police professionals.  a substantial minority consider it acceptable to sometimes use more force than permitted by the laws that govern them. Derrik Post
  35. 35.  The code of silence also remains a troubling issue for American police, with approximately one-quarter of police officers surveyed stating that whistle blowing is not worth it, two-thirds reporting that police officers who report misconduct are likely to receive a “cold shoulder” from fellow officers, and more than one-half reporting that it is not unusual for police officers to turn a “blind eye” to improper conduct by other officers.  These findings suggest that the culture of silence that has continually plagued the reform of American policing continues.
  36. 36.  Most officers believed that training and education are effective methods for reducing police abuse. A substantial majority of officers who had received training in interpersonal skills or taken courses in ethics or diversity believed that the education or training was effective in preventing misbehavior. These responses may not establish the effectiveness of such programs, but they do show that American police find them important and useful.  A substantial majority believed that when a chief of police takes a strong stand against police violence, rank and file officers will follow his or her lead.  Officers identified strong first line supervision as an effective way to prevent abuse and violence by police.
  37. 37.  Misconduct by Experienced Police Officers  The study identifies cases in which sworn law enforcement officers had been arrested for one or more criminal offenses through content analyses of published newspaper articles.  Identified 2,119 criminal cases that involved the arrest of 1,746 sworn officers
  38. 38.  Data show that cases of police crime peak at 4 years of service and decline thereafter.  The decline, however, is interrupted by spikes in crime during years 9, 10, 14, and 18 of service.  These spikes in crime committed later in the career seem to contradict the notion of a stable experience–problem behavior curve and steady declines in misconduct that continue until retirement.  The crimes committed by officers with 18 or more years of experience accounted for a considerable portion (17.4 percent) of the total number of crimes for which data on experience were available.  The crimes of experienced officers differed from those committed earlier in the police career. For example, late-stage offenders were more likely to be supervisors and/or administrators, and they were more likely to commit crimes that were motivated by profit.  Late-stage offenders were also distinguished in terms of employment outcomes. They were significantly less likely to be terminated as opposed to suspended than were less experienced officers.
  39. 39.  Police agencies need to recognize the possibility of problem behaviors among long- time employees and develop programs that anticipate the issues that commonly emerge late in the career or during the transition to retirement.  Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) may provide a more promising avenue toward addressing pre-retirement issues. These programs typically provide personal and job- related counseling services to officers.
  40. 40.  Covey, R. (2013). Police misconduct as a cause of wrongful convictions. Washington University Law Review  Jinhua, C. (2009). Police corruption control in hong kong and new york city: a dilemma of checks and balances in combating corruption. BYU Journal Of Public Law  John Ritter. Suicide Rates Jolt Police Culture. USA Today, February 2007.  John M. Violanti. Police Retirement: The Impact of Change. Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 1992.  Linder, D. (2001). The trials of los angeles police officers' in connection with the beating of rodney king. Famous Trials  Major John Morris. Reintegration The Challenge of the Road home from Warrior to Citizen. 2006.  Philip M. Stinson and John Liederbach, "Misconduct by Experienced Police Officers," Research in Brief, The Police Chief 79 (November 2012): 12.  The National Institute of Justice, Department of Justice. Journal. July 1999.
  41. 41.  The National P.O.L.I.C.E. Suicide Foundation, Inc. The Top 18 Reasons Why Police Officers Committee Suicide. 2003.  Weitzer, R. (2002). Incidents of police misconduct and public opinion. Journal Of Criminal Justice  misconduct-laws-enforced-department-justice  us/investigate/civilrights/color_of_law  (2016) Police corruption and misconduct: history, contemporary problems, further readings. Net Industries. Retrieved from Misconduct.html.