Standards in Police Selection

Cases in the media where police officers are caught (on tape or otherwise) brutalizing segments of society only underscore the importance of careful police selection processes being in place.&nbsp. But how do police departments typically set the standards which recruits must pass and what methods are implemented during this crucial selection process? According to Doerner and Nowell (1999), "Most departments rely upon polygraphing, physical wellness standards, educational requirements, medical reviews, and background checks to screen out patently unqualified applicants." These methods are often augmented by "psychological testing, personality typologies, cognitive examinations, interest inventories, oral board interviews, assessment centers, and situational tests" (Doerner &amp. Nowell 1999) in order to complete the selection process.&nbsp.Cases in the media where police officers are caught (on tape or otherwise) brutalizing segments of society only underscore the importance of careful police selection processes being in place.&nbsp. But how do police departments typically set the standards which recruits must pass and what methods are implemented during this crucial selection process?

According to Doerner and Nowell (1999), "Most departments rely upon polygraphing, physical wellness standards, educational requirements, medical reviews, and background checks to screen out patently unqualified applicants." These methods are often augmented by "psychological testing, personality typologies, cognitive examinations, interest inventories, oral board interviews, assessment centers, and situational tests" (Doerner &amp. Nowell 1999) in order to complete the selection process.&nbsp. In order to save time and cost in the police selection process, however, attempts to replace these traditional methods of police selection are continually being tested for reliability and validity. To this end, there are many new police selection tools that have come on the market recently. One of these newer methods of police selection is the behavioral-personnel assessment device test (B-PAD).
In this test, recruits view a videotape of typical police crises and scenarios, and then their responses of how they would handle the situation as a police officer are recorded on tape, to be viewed by a panel of judges.(Doerner &amp. Nowell 1999). The B-PAD is supposed to test a recruit’s interpersonal skills and judgment. There are some questions about whether such a test is biased against the demographic background factors of either the recruit or the judges, such as bias based on sex or race. Although preliminary studies show there is no bias in the test, there is sure to be more research on this.

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