The history of the IACP Police Psychology Section mirrors the growth of the subspecialty of Police Psychology. Although law enforcement agencies utilized psychological services as early as 1917, it was in the midst of rapid growth of the field during the 1980’s that the IACP Police Psychology Section was born. A group of police psychologists attending a Police Psychology training conference at the FBI Academy in Quantico began discussing the need for an organization of police psychologists to serve the IACP membership. By the end of the conference, it was decided to probe the possibility of forming an IACP police psychological services committee. This group met again at the October 1984 IACP Annual Conference in Salt Lake City as an ad hoc committee. The ad hoc committee developed an outline of interests and responsibilities and made a formal presentation to IACP Executive Board members, who voted to establish the Police Psychological Services Committee on October 25, 1984 with several key objectives:
- To serve as a central source information source relating to police psychology for the IACP membership and law enforcement generally;
- To promote the use of psychology within law enforcement.
- To promote the field of Police Psychology within the broad field of Psychology and related disciplines.
- To provide training to the IACP membership in the many areas where psychological services and methods can enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement services.
- To develop and train Police Psychologists through educational offerings and opportunities for networking.
The first meeting of the Police Psychological Services Committee took place at the 1985 IACP Annual Conference in Houston, Texas. There the Committee further refined its objectives and re-asserted that its primary role was to serve IACP member needs. In addition, at the conference the Committee began developing strategies to implement these through presentations at IACP annual conferences and publications in Police Chief magazine. Several months later in December 17, 1985 at another conference at the FBI Academy members of the committee and other attendees made final determinations regarding a series of workshops to be offered at the 1986 IACP Conference in Nashville. It was at this conference that the committee was elevated to full section status.
Since that time, the membership of the IACP Psychological Services Section has grown to more than 160 police psychologists. The Section continues to adhere to the original objectives of the Psychological Services Committee by contributing to Police Chief Magazine, presenting training programs for IACP members at the annual IACP conferences as well as providing in-service training for police psychologists.
One of the most important contributions of the section is in providing some standardization for the field of Police Psychology through publication of articles and books by Section members and through the development and publication of guidelines. These guidelines, the first to be disseminated in the field of Police Psychology, filled a conspicuous void, as prior to their implementation there had been no formalization of procedures in the field. While the primary intent of the guidelines was to help IACP members better decisions regarding utilization of psychological services, a second objective was to help those practicing in the field by establishing written procedural protocols for important areas of Police Psychological practice, namely pre-employment evaluation, duty-related shootings, fitness for duty, and use of peer support. As one example of the impact of these guidelines, agencies are beginning to refer to them when soliciting psychological services, requiring that practitioners desiring to provide services for the agency describe how their procedures adhere to the IACP Police Psychology guidelines.
Today the Psychological Services section remains a dynamic force shaping the field of Police Psychology and, it is hoped, an important contributor to the IACP and the entire Law Enforcement community by promoting professionalism among psychology practitioners and by educating law enforcement professionals in the appropriate use of services.
1986-1987 James H. Shaw, Ph.D.
1987-1988 Susan Saxe-Clifford, Ph.D.
1988-1990 Joseph D. Elam, Ph.D.
1990-1992 Roger M. Solomon, Ph.D.
1992-1994 James Janik, Psy.D.
1994-1996 Stephen F. Curran, Ph.D.
1996-1998 Nancy K. Bohl, Ph.D.
1998-2000 Gary M. Kaufmann, Psy.D.
2000-2002 Michael G. Gelles, Psy.D.
2002-2004 Andrew H. Ryan, Ph.D.
2004-2006 John Nicoletti, Ph.D.
2006-2008 Audrey Honig, Ph.D.
2008-2009 David Corey, Ph.D.
2009-2010 Philip S. Trompetter, Ph.D.
2010-2011 Daniel W. Clark, Ph.D.
2011-2012 Elizabeth White, Ph.D.
2012-2013 Jeni McCutchen, Psy.D., M.S.C.P., ABPP
2013- 2014 Jocelyn Roland, Ph.D., ABPP
2014- 2015 Stephen P. Griffin, Psy.D., ABPP
2015- Heather K. McElroy, Ph.D., ABPP