Forensic Psychologists and Crisis Situations

Forensic Psychologists and Crisis Situations Forensic Psychologists and Crisis Situations Approximately 30-58 percent of police agencies that have a crisis or hostage negotiation team use a mental health consultant. In most cases, 88 percent of these mental health consultants are psychiatrists (Kocsis, 2009). There are three roles of a forensic psychology professional in crises. These roles are the provision of consultation services, the role of primary controllers and the role of crisis intervention teams. The roles require the forensic psychology professional to conduct several functions within the pre-incident, incident and post-incident timeframes.
Consultant or Advisor
The most common role of a forensic psychology professional is the provision of consultancy services. The psychologist is required to provide services during the pre-incident, incident and post-incident timeframes to law enforcement agencies or entities. In the case of the pre-incident timeframe, the psychologist provides selection, police input, conceptual development services and training to law enforcement (Miller, 2006). About selection, the forensic psychology professional assists in the psychological assessment processes during pre-employment. During some of the cases, the psychologist may provide assistance with the selection of special assignments. During crises, police agencies use the forensic psychology professional as an on-scene advisor. In this case, the psychologist provides profiles of the parties involved and assesses the suspect.
Primary Controller
A forensic psychology professional directs police officers and employs the inputs of team members to implement the role of police officers. In case of negotiations, the forensic psychology professional dominates negotiations, and assumes the responsibility of an operational commander. The position of an operational commander is recognized by the top-most governmental level of a jurisdiction. A forensic psychology professional who acts as a primary controller during a crisis has spent time in governmental services (Prenzler amp. Ransley, 2002). The professional is expected to have served in political crises. In this case, the professional demonstrates competence and leadership in problem solving. In order for a forensic psychology professional to successfully function as a primary controller, the professional is required to address two crucial issues (Feldmann, 2004). The first is resentment from military and police ranks who focus on the maintenance of order. The second issue is knowledge of what requires to be done tactically by specialists.
Crisis Intervention Teams
Forensic psychology professionals have a role in crisis intervention teams. There responsibility is to ensure that local initiatives successfully improve law enforcement and the response of community members to crises. Forensic psychology professionals also build strong partnerships between service providers and law enforcement agencies (Giebels amp. Taylor, 2007). In case of a crisis, forensic psychology professionals ensure that people receive mental health interventions. They also refer people to mental health centers to receive healthcare services. There goals include alleviating harm, lessening injuries, promoting decriminalization and reducing the stigma associated with the crisis (Chandley, 2001). There primary focus is to ensure that teams are formed in order to respond to any crisis.
Conclusion
Forensic psychology professionals play a crucial role in the management of a police crisis situation. They are important in the successful resolution of hostage or crisis negotiations. Some of their roles in police crisis situations include the provision of consultancy services, crisis intervention teams and their roles as primary controllers. Forensic psychology professionals are influential in the preparation of sensitive operational. They are vital additions to teams that deal with perpetrators, agitated suspects and victims of crisis situations.
References
Chandley, M. (2001). Before The Experts Arrive. Best Practice Considerations For Early-Stage Hostage Negotiation. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 39, (6).
Feldmann, T. (2004). The Role of Mental Health Consultants on Hostage Negotiation Teams. Psychiatric Times. Issue 14, (21).
Giebels, E., amp. Taylor, P. (2007). Interaction Patterns in Crisis Negotiations: Persuasive Arguments and Cultural Differences. IACM 2007 Meetings Paper. Retrieved From http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1100609
Kocsis, R. N. (2009). Applied Criminal Psychology: A Guide to Forensic Behavioral Sciences. Springfield: Charles C Thomas Publisher, LTD.
Miller, L. (2006). Practical police psychology: Stress management and crisis intervention for law enforcement. Springfield, Ill: Charles C Thomas.
Prenzler, T., amp. Ransley, J. (2002). Police reform: Building integrity. Annandale, NSW: Hawkins Press.