The Law Enforcement concentration within the Clinical Forensic Psy.D. program prepares students to apply psychological principles and theories to the law enforcement field. Coursework covers such topics as hostage negotiations, theories of criminology, and psychological interventions in law enforcement. Students explore major areas of police psychology, such as law enforcement culture, professional concerns, diversity, and the role of the psychologist in this setting. They are also trained in appropriate and effective intervention techniques for the often high-stress field of law enforcement and situations that are encountered.
Students in the Chicago Campus program have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience at The Chicago School Forensic Center, which provides high-quality forensic psychological services and programming to improve the health and well-being of individuals within diverse communities. Through a range of community partnerships, the center provides students with opportunities to put classroom learning into practice in real-world settings—including victim-related trauma treatment for women, adult offenders transitioning from correctional facilities into the community, job readiness preparation for adult offenders, psycho-educational training workshops for parents who have abused or neglected their children, and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy to help reduce the risk of future incidents of abuse and neglect. Students also benefit from a range of applied learning experiences rarely available at other schools—such as providing expert witness testimony in front of practicing judges and attorneys during a realistic mock trial experience, and participating in a realistic hostage negotiation simulation with real FBI agents, police officers, and SWAT team members.
Graduates are prepared to sit for national licensure exam for professional practice in psychology and become lead practitioners and senior administrators in both educational and forensic settings. The program provides students with opportunities to do empirical and applied research within a range of forensic settings and populations and to tailor their coursework to meet particular educational and professional goals. Graduates are equipped with the requisite academic foundation to become head practitioners and senior administrators in both educational and forensic settings, and to conduct criminal competency evaluations, criminal responsibility evaluations, forensic child interviews, fitness for duty evaluations, risk assessments, and clinical interventions for a broad range of disorders and populations.
Prepares students to sit for the national licensure exam in clinical psychology
Program Time to Completion
Psychological Assessments in Law Enforcement
Examines the assessments conducted in the field of law enforcement, including pre-employment screenings, Fitness for Duty evaluations, and special unit screenings. Special unit teams have additional responsibilities and unique stressors, requiring individualized screening and assessment. Special unit teams include detective, SWAT, Hostage Negotiation, under-cover operations, and the bomb squad. Special emphasis is paid to ethical concerns, and the unique professional issues inherent in psychological interventions for law enforcement.
Theories of Criminology
Provides an overview of theories regarding crime and criminal justice. Socio-cultural, personality, and environmental factors underlying criminal behavior are examined, including white collar crime, violent crime, organized crime, and sexual violence.
Psychology of Law Enforcement
The field of law enforcement has its own unique culture and organizational structure. This course addresses how the dynamics within law enforcement influence decision making and can lead to and/or sustain stress, acute stress disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. Students explore major areas of police psychology, such as law enforcement culture, professional concerns, the role of the psychologist, diversity, pre-employment selection, and an overview of fitness-for-duty evaluations in this specialized area. Special attention is paid to critical incidents and critical incident stress debriefing techniques used with this population.
In order to deepen their understanding of law enforcement, students participate in an experiential service learning project in the field of law enforcement. Students attend a day of tactical training with a local law enforcement agency, in which they observe the tactical exercises, engage in discussion, and perhaps participate with law enforcment in the drill of the day. At the end of the semester, incorporating the knowledge and experiences from both the classroom and the tactical training day, students provide a training module to the law enforcement agency.
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