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  • Mandatory Psychological Testing

    I was wondering do you guys thing Psychological testing should be mandatory in Illinois like it is in other states. Currently it is up to the agency if they want to do them. Through my research I have found out a lot of agencies, especially smaller ones, outside the Chicago area don't conduct them do to cost.

  • #2
    Absolutely. Psych exams evaluate applicants to determine if they are free from any emotional or mental condition that might adversely affect the exercise of the powers of a police officer, and to otherwise ensure that the candidate is capable of withstanding the psychological demands of the position. As such, they are great at weeding out problem applicants.

    However, these tests are not without flaws. I have seen applicants fail a psych exam for agency A on Monday and pass a psych exam for Department B on Wednesday. It's not that these were unfit candidates, but that criteria for testing can vary from agency to agency, or from testing physician to physician, or that a physician's personal bias may come into play. For example, we had one Psychologist in our area who routinely failed very applicant under the age of 25 because, irrespective of test results, it was his personal opinion that anyone under that age lacked sufficient maturity for the job.

    If you want to get a better feel for the how and why of psych screening, download and read this:

    https://post.ca.gov/portals/0/post_d...ing_Manual.pdf

    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      I don't how the rest of Illinois is but back when I was testing in the Chicago area every pd I've applied to had a psychological portion of testing.

      Comment


      • inventorchris
        inventorchris commented
        Editing a comment
        A lot of agencies in the rest of the state only conduct them if they feel like it is necessary.

    • #4
      Retired cop here, and anyone who chooses to be a cop in modern America needs some serious psychological testing, maybe even some treatment. Really, who would volunteer for a proctology examination every day of their lives? Nuff said.

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      • #5
        Psychological tests should be required in my opinion. It's the polygraphs that are a complete joke.
        Gov Blagojevich - "I'am the American dream...."

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        • #6
          I did all my testing in Lake/Cook/McHenry Counties when I was applying. Each and every one of the agencies required a psych test. I thought that was pretty standard at this point.

          And I agree with the sentiment above about the polygraph being nonsense.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by retired1995 View Post
            Retired cop here, and anyone who chooses to be a cop in modern America needs some serious psychological testing, maybe even some treatment. Really, who would volunteer for a proctology examination every day of their lives? Nuff said.


            Well someone has to hold the line. Speaking of which I need to start getting ready for work
            Last edited by southpaw1; 09-28-2019, 01:32 PM. Reason: typo

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            • #8
              Sorry for the delay in getting back to everyone. I thank everyone for their comments. According to a report I read only 22 states require psychological testing for officers in order to get hired. Most federal agencies conduct them but not all of them. I know in IL most urban department especially around Chicagoland conduct them. Also all state funded college and university are required to conduct them. From my research a lot of rural departments don't conduct them due to the cost associated with them. The only time they might is if something is brought up during the medical evaluation. I think if it going to become a state mandate then it should also be a mandate for corrections officers as well. Just like with PD most CO in IL don't conduct them.

              I also think there should be more control over what is released during a report to the department. From what I gather the report is suppose to state simply if the person would make a good candidate for the position. And the risk of you developing a mental issues during your career. With that in mind a couple psychologist I talk to seem to over tell department about a candidate. Department are often told if you ever had a mental condition, if you currently have one, and if you are on any mental health medication. I feel like if the psychologist okays you for the position then the department shouldn't be told if you take medication or have any current diagnoses. If the meds or conditions would have been an issues for employment the DR wouldn't recommend the person. Additionally, a lot of the conditions that end up disqualifying someone are things officers who already work for the department are allowed to have. For example having generalized anxiety and taking meds for it can make it more difficult to be hired. Yet and officers already hired can be on the same medicine and the department has no issues.

              Comment


              • NW121
                NW121 commented
                Editing a comment
                Where the medication and mental condition aspects are concerned, most departments have a policy requiring all applicants disclose any and all conditions/medications that could impact one's job performance. As part of the disclosure waiver for hiring, applicants are required to waive their privacy so the department has access to all that information. The police department has a vested interest in knowing whether the person they're about to give a gun to is, for example, bi-polar (even if properly managed).There's too much liability otherwise and the media would flay a department alive in the court of public opinion if any major use of force involving this person ever occurred, justified or not, and it came out they never bothered to find that info out.

            • #9
              Originally posted by MeganH View Post
              Additionally, a lot of the conditions that end up disqualifying someone are things officers who already work for the department are allowed to have. For example having generalized anxiety and taking meds for it can make it more difficult to be hired. Yet and officers already hired can be on the same medicine and the department has no issues.
              Yes, this is a protection found both in civil service law and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which is Federal law.

              An employer may decline to hire an applicant who has a condition that may hinder them in the performance of the duties of the position they are seeking. However, once an applicant is cleared for employment and permanent civil service status is attained, that individual obtains what is know as a "Liberty Interest" in their job. This is something akin to property rights. Under civil service law, they may not be suspended, demoted or fired except upon the showing of good cause. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, they may not be mandated to reveal medical issues that develop later or undergo additional medical examinations that would reveal such job threatening conditions unless as a result of those conditions, their job performance suffers to the extent that it reasonably appears they can no longer satisfactorily perform their duties.

              With this is mind, it is not unusual for police officers to develop medical conditions later during their careers that would disqualify a new hire on the medical, such as heart, ortho, diabetes, blood pressure, etc. However, they are not compelled to reveal those conditions and to avoid violating ADA, employers have to tread carefully and avoid asking about them unless it is clear the condition is preventing the officer from performing his duties.
              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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              • #10
                Friend of mine works for a local PD. Talked to him a few weeks ago. He is going through some PTSD from his time in Iraq and also related to multiple UOF incidents he was party to or witnessed, several of which were fatal. He went to see a psych on his own, filed a work comp claim was denied did his thing and is getting better. He was the third one in his department to do so. After 10 officers started seeing the same psych, the department realized that they had a problem, eventually hired on the psych as a contractor and looked back at all the denied work comp claims. His was accepted. Now the psych treats roughly half the officers at his department which is between 100-150 sworn.

                It does nobody any good to pretend these problems don't exist. Wish more agencies would get on top of it like his has done.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Megan, as someone who was diagnosed with depression in high school and currently takes anxiety meds who trying to get hired I can see where you are coming from, but also get the pd point. With depression, suicide. Ptsd, and anxiety rates high in Criminal justice agencies departments are considered that by hiring a person who has/had one of these conditions the jobs might cause a relapse or cause your condition to get worse. With that in mind if you were still actively depressed, having panic attacks, or have bipolar it extremely unlikely that you would pass the psychological test to begin with. Departments these days would rather play it safe and not hire someone with a past of these issue instead of take the chance something might happen.

                  Going through this process first hand talking the test isn't the issue I have with it. What I don't agree with is the flaws in these test. For example you can take one psychological test and have it evaluated by 2 different drs and one can pass you while the other fails you. Another huge issues I have with them is that chief and hiring commission can over rule the result. You may get cleared by your mental health team and by the psychological the police department hires to the test and they can be told you are good to be hired. However, police hiring personnel can still reject you based on the fact you take medication, have anxiety, or have had a passed condition. This is frustrating for people like me who are testing, because someone with little to no mental health knowledge is overruling 1-2 experts in the field. At this point it sometimes feels like why bother with the test if their opinion doesn't matter and can be overruled. Why hire someone to say I am employable if your just going to rule otherwise.

                  I honestly wonder sometimes if the psychological evaluation was required when some of these senior officers and chiefs involved in the hiring process got hired, how many would have been rejected by it. It kind of a double edged sword knowing you're being denied a position by people who might not have passed the test if they were in your shoes trying to get hired for the first time

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                  • #12
                    A department could be considered negligent nowadays if they didn't do a psych exam and that officer got involved in any critical incident where lost of life or great bodily harm occurs. The civil liability for that will be off the charts. The same for an agency who hired someone who failed the psych exam and still hired that person. Can you imagine the headlines of "department hires depressed sociopath" or "department gives suicidal guy a gun and badge". It just wouldn't go well.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      I think it is standard anymore for psychological profiles before becoming an officer anymore.

                      Comment


                      • MeganH
                        MeganH commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Like I've stated only 22 states require them and Illinois isn't one of them. Once you get outside of Chicago area a lot of departments don't conduct them

                    • #14
                      Just what we need: hiring people with depression/abuse/drug/criminal histories. And people wonder why there are lawsuits being filed right and left ...

                      There is a REASON for psych/BI testing. It’s to exclude problems and safeguard the public. Guaranteed that if you get hired and have a psych issue, it WILL come up on your first UoF.
                      Now go home and get your shine box!

                      Comment


                      • MeganH
                        MeganH commented
                        Editing a comment
                        No one is saying hiring someone with a current issue of depression and we didn't even talk about the other stuff. We are talking about having depression in the past which is very common and being denied a job because you have suffered from depression once in the past. It the minor things that they are disqualifying people for I am talking about. Having a past condition of something like anxiety, eating disorder, or anxiety isn't a lifetime condition and can be treated. Most people with anxiety are completely fine once they are medicated for it. The same way people with eyesight are fine once they are prescribed glasses. PD are paying a psychologist to say if you are good or not good to be a cop then dismiss their opinion and disqualifying someone anyway after the psychologist says they are good. Just because you had depression in the past doesn't mean your going to have it again. I am a PHD student working on my distortion on this subject and work as an intern at a place that conduct these test. I have found department don't want to hire a new recruit who once had these issues but are completely fine with hiring a lateral officers who is currently suffering from them. It also blows my mind that a department is willing to pay for an expert opinion on rather or not someone is able to do the job just to have a police chief or police commission with very little mental health knowledge rule the other way. Why pay for our opinion if you don't care what it says and are just going to make your own decision on the matter.

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