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Fundamentals of Police Psychology

Time limit: 168 days

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Full program description

Courses in the Certificate

Course One: Introduction to Police and Public Safety Psychology

This course provides an introduction to and overview of the field of police and public safety psychology, examining the role of the police psychologist, the psychological impact of police work on the individual officer, and the issues involved in providing psychological services to officers and law enforcement agencies. It covers the many and diverse roles of the police psychologist and the legal, ethical and practical considerations inherent in these roles. Survey the history of police psychology and its evolution to its current state. Includes an examination of the special concerns when providing psychological services to police officers (and all law enforcement personnel and emergency service workers) including confidentiality, mandatory referrals and weapons removal/retention. Also includes diverse perspectives on the role of the police psychologist by various individuals within and outside the law enforcement community.

Course Two: Understanding the Culture of Law Enforcement

The course explores the unique culture of police and sheriff’s departments, including the differentiation between working custody versus working patrol; common lapses in judgment and common pitfalls that can negatively affect new officers; differences and dynamics specific to sworn versus civilian law enforcement employees; elements of effective interactions with the public and the press. The course will also explore the basics of teaching and consulting in the law enforcement community: common pitfalls for the psychologist.

Course Three: Providing Psychological Support Services to Law Enforcement Personnel

This course will provide an overview of the intervention domain of police psychology. Topics will include the difference between ‘in-house’ and ‘out-of-house’ or contract psychological services; the stressors unique to first responders and law enforcement personnel and the cultures in which they work; the unique ethical considerations which must be considered when providing psychological services to law enforcement personnel including voluntary vs. mandatory counseling, confidentiality, and safety concerns; the critical incidents that law enforcement personnel encounter including officer involved shootings, mass casualty incidents, public mistrust, homicides, undercover work, child abuse, etc.; an understanding of critical incident stress debriefings and defusings, early intervention strategies, and whether they should be recommended or mandatory; an understanding of multiple intervention/counseling techniques including individual therapy, couples counseling, family therapy and group interventions. The course explores the value of adjunctive services such as those provided by chaplains, peer counseling programs, employee assistance programs for the treatment of substance use/abuse and early prevention programs.

Course Four: Operational Support in Police Psychology II

This course will provide an overview of the role of the psychologist in the supporting law enforcement and safety personnel in counter-terrorism (anti-terrorism); threat assessments; stalking; workplace violence; and operations related research, teaching and consultation.

Certificates will be accepted for transfer credit toward select 3-unit courses in CSFS’s Master’s of Science Forensic Behavior Science or Master of Science Forensic Administration and Leadership. Up to two certificates can be transferred.

The California Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Behavioral Science, Public Safety, and Justice at the California School of Forensic Studies (CSFS) at Alliant International University is dedicated to providing law enforcement, security professionals, other first responders, and mental and allied health professionals with practical forensic education and training.

Advanced Practice Certificates are eligible for Continuing Education credit through the American Psychological Association (APA). CSFS is also an official corporate sponsor of the International Law Enforcement Education and Trainers Association (ILEETA).

Full course description

Fundamentals of Police Psychology is designed for mental health professionals who seek foundational knowledge and skills to work with law enforcement and public safety personnel in multiple contexts, including private practice, law enforcement agencies, and health care.

Use code CE2019 to waive your application fee!