Psychological Screening for Police Officers

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The road to becoming a police officer requires many assessments and tests, both physical and mental. Psychological screening for police officers is one of the last steps in the hiring process for more than 90% of law enforcement agencies in the United States.1 If you are thinking about becoming a police officer or are just curious about the process, it is important to correct some misinformed rumors about this process. 

What is the Psychological Screening for Police Officers?

In short, police agencies use psychological screenings to ensure that their candidates are the best fit for the roles they are applying to. The screening normally consists of several components, starting with an interview or evaluation, followed by surveys and multiple-choice tests, and concluding with an interview with a psychologist. Processes may, of course, vary based on the police department. 

Why are there Psychological Screenings for Police Officers?

A police officers’ job is a high-stress position that requires a levelheaded individual for both the police officer’s safety and the public’s safety. 

A common misconception regarding the psychological screening process is that it measures a candidate’s sanity. While a psychological analysis may be done, it is solely to determine suitability to a role, not sanity levels. 

Some common attributes that are studied during psychological screenings:

  • Impulse Control
  • General Intelligence
  • Judgment
  • Ability to perform tasks that are boring or tedious 
  • Reasonable courage
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Personal bias or lack of bias
  • Ability to tolerate stress
  • What motivated the candidate to choose law enforcement
  • Dependability
  • Ability to deal with supervision
  • Appropriate attitudes towards sexuality
  • Prior drug use

How Effective is Psychological Screening? 

The effectiveness of psychological screenings has been studied for years, with all signs indicating that screenings lead to an improvement in the selection of candidates.1 Police data suggests that the screening results in an estimated elimination of 15% to 20% of unsuitable applicants.1 

What Happens if You Fail? 

As stated above, the psychological screening test for police officers is not a measurement of sanity but a measurement of suitability to the job. You won’t be locked in an insane asylum. You won’t be punished in any way. You simply will have found out that the role of a police officer is not suited to your set of skills. There are various other public service positions available that some candidates may be better suited for. 

If you feel that there has been a mistake in assessing your screening, you may be allowed to reapply; however, most police departments require that a certain amount of time pass before they accept a second application. 

Reach Out Today

If you, or someone you know, has been wrongfully disqualified from the New York City Police Department, New York City Correction Department, NASSAU County Police Department, or other law enforcement agencies due to psychological, character, or medical reasons, contact Disqualified Appeals today. Robert B. Kronenberg Esquire has been assisting candidates for law enforcement positions for nearly two decades and is committed to meeting the needs of every client. 

Related Readings:

Character Screenings for Police Officers

Medical Screenings for Police Officers


1What to Know About the Psychological Screening for Police Officers

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