Psychological Assessments for Public Safety Candidates in
Response to the Death of George Floyd
Police incidents which incite outrage seem to be unending. The untimely death of George Floyd is the latest. A bystander’s video captured disturbing footage of the handcuffed, unarmed Minneapolis resident under the knee of former officer Chauvin, as Mr. Floyd repeated a familiar phrase; “I can’t breathe.” As the world grapples with the graphic footage, questions surface about how these incidents can be prevented in the future. “Maybe we need to focus on vetting these officers before they begin”, stated MSNBC Legal Analyst, Greg Kirshner during a nightly news
It is estimated that more than 90% of police departments require a psychological evaluation as part of their selection and hiring process (Cochrane, R. E., Tett, R. P., & Vandecreek, L. 2003). According to 2011-2014 data provided by the Philadelphia Police Department, 72.5 percent of the 262 black applicants passed the psychological evaluation, compared with 81.2 percent of the 823 white candidates (Avril, 2015). Let’s look at the data and explore the role of psychological evaluations in the vetting process.
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