Board Certification in Police Psychology: What It Means to Public Safety

The relationship between professional psychology and law enforcement began nearly 100 years ago when Lewis Terman, PhD, a leading expert in intelligence testing, was commissioned in 1916 to assess the suitability of police applicants to the San Jose, California, Police Department. But it took a half century for the relationship to blossom. The President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (1967) called for the use of psychological tests “for identifying and measuring the personal characteristics that contribute to good police work.” In 1968, the Los Angeles, California, Police Department hired Martin Reiser, EdD, ABPP, as the first full-time police psychologist at a major law enforcement agency. A few years later, the San Jose Police Department hired Michael Roberts, PhD, ABPP, as the nation’s second full-time police psychologist, paving the way for the acceptance of police psychology as a standard function within law enforcement agencies.