Assessing the Psychological Suitability of Candidates for Law Enforcement Positions

ssessing the psychological suitability of candidates for law enforcement positions is one of the essential functions of police psychology. Police psychologists are uniquely trained and qualified to perform this service in collaboration with the agencies they serve. The IACP Police Psychological Services Section (PPSS) has developed Pre-Employment Psychological Evaluation Guidelines, herein Guidelines, that describe a set of principles and recommended procedures for conducting these assessments. The Guidelines are not intended to establish a rigid standard of practice for preemployment psychological evaluations. Rather, they describe commonly accepted processes used by experienced law enforcement psychologists. In addition, the PPSS encourages agencies and psychologists to continue to scientifically study how best to predict officer performance and to use the most up-to-date, validated procedures. This article describes and elaborates on the IACPPPSS’s recommended procedures for conducting preemployment evaluations of law enforcement candidates, with an emphasis on steps the hiring agency’s administrators can take to ensure adherence to these practices. The Guidelines are written to apply to agencies in the United States, and may, therefore, require modification for use in other countries.