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Working with the Police

Laurence Miller, PhD

A continuing education course for 5 ces


This course consists of reading a post-test on the following:

Table of Contents

1. Officer-Involved Shooting:
Reaction Patterns, Response Protocols, and Psychological Intervention Strategies

Psychologists who work with law enforcement agencies may be called upon to respond to an officer-involved shooting (OIS). These need not be the most traumatic critical incidents in policing, but when they are, the reasons usually involve a mix of incident characteristics, officer response styles, and departmental handling. This article describes some of the psychological reactions experienced by officers during and following an OIS and provides a model of administrative, legal, mental health, and peer support services for officers in need. Finally, the article discusses several key roles that the police psychologist can play in the process of managing an OIS.
International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp. 239-254

2. Suicide By Cop:
Causes, Reactions, and Practical Intervention Strategies

Due to a combination of interpersonal manipulativeness, personal identification, and lack of heroic status, most police officers find suicide by cop (SBC) calls to be among the most disturbing shooting incidents. This article describes the dynamics of SBC and some of the factors that may contribute to it. Operational strategies and psychological techniques for de-escalating and resolving a SBC crisis are discussed. Finally, psychological reactions by officers to a SBC and psychotherapeutic strategies for dealing with the aftermath are described. Especially important is the recommendation that officers use intervention “failures” as tools for learning, so that purposeless remorse can be turned into enhanced life-saving skills for the next incident.
International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 165 - 174

3. Hostage Negotiation:
Psychological Principles and Practices

Resolution of hostage crises may take hours or days of intensely focused and stressful negotiation, requiring the use of virtually every crisis intervention strategy known to psychology and law enforcement. This article describes the nature of hostage crises and the factors that contribute to prospects for a successful resolution. Outlined are basic strategies of hostage negotiation and crisis management culled from the psychological and law enforcement literature. Recommendations are offered to civilians for surviving a hostage crisis. Finally, the article emphasizes the collaborative working relationship between mental health and law enforcement professionals that can have a lifesaving impact for citizens in peril.
International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 277-298

4. Line-of-Duty Death:
Psychological Treatment of Traumatic Bereavement in Law Enforcement

A line-of-duty death (LODD) strikingly brings home the risk and vulnerability of all law enforcement officers and affects the officer’s peers, the entire department, the wider police community, and the officer’s family. This article will place LODD in the context of general bereavement psychology, as well as describe some of its unique features. A variety of supportive and psychotherapeutic measures will be offered for helping peer and family survivors cope with this type of tragedy. This is one important area where police psychologists and community mental health clinicians can be of tremendous service in applying their specialized training in trauma therapy and grief counseling to the special needs of law enforcement and emergency services.
International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 13-23

5. Police Officer Suicide:
Causes, Prevention, and Practical Intervention Strategies

More police officers die by their own hand than are killed in the line of duty. This article outlines the facts and statistics about police officer suicide and discusses the range of possible contributory factors to officer burnout, depression, and suicide. It then describes the range of prevention strategies that police agencies can employ to minimize this tragedy, including identification of risk factors, sensitivity to overt and subtle cues of officer distress, and proper utilization of counseling and referral services. Next, the article offers practical guidelines for dealing with officers in states of impending or acute suicidal crises. Finally, the importance of suicide prevention and intervention in the context of comprehensive mental health services for all public safety workers is highlighted
International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 101-114

All articles are used with permission from the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health


During a memorial Tuesday at the Tacoma Dome, Lakewood Police Department pallbearers prepare to escort a casket bearing one of four officers killed Nov. 29.

In this 5 unit course, Learning Objectives are to:

1. Describe reaction patterns, response protocols, and psychological intervention strategies in officer-involved shootings.
2. Explain causes, reactions, and practical intervention strategies in suicide by cop.
3. List psychological principles and practices in hostage negotiations
4. Describe psychological treatment of traumatic bereavement in law enforcement in line-of-duty death.
5. Critique causes, prevention, and practical intervention strategies in police officer suicide.

how it works

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You will immediately receive confirmation of your order, your password and how to access the course material. (Please do not block e-mails from classes@psychceu.com, orders@psychceu.com and info@psychceu.com)

If you ordered an online course, you can begin to take the course immediately.

You will receive instructions, via e-mail, on how to take your test online.

Contact us or call if you need technical support.

Your test will be graded online, so the moment you have passed, you may print out your certificate of completion.

That's it! You are done!


Laurence Miller, Ph.D. maintains an independent practice in clinical and forensic psychology in Boca Raton, Florida.  He is a police psychologist with the West Palm Beach Police Department, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Highway Patrol.  He is a court-appointed psychological examiner for the Palm Beach County Court and serves as an independent expert witness in civil and criminal cases.  Dr. Miller is on the adjunct faculty at Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach State College, and Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Institute.   He is the editor of the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, and is the author of Shocks to the System: Psychotherapy of Traumatic Disability Syndromes (Norton), Practical Police Psychology: Stress Management and Crisis Intervention for Law Enforcement (Thomas), and Counseling Crime Victims: Practical Strategies for Mental Health Professionals (Springer).  He maintains the Practical Police Psychology webpage at the PoliceOne.com website, and contributes to the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. Dr. Miller can be reached at 561-392-8881 and at docmilphd@aol.com.



APA Ethics

We do adhere to the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists. Our courses are carefully screened by the Planning Committee to adhere to APA standards. We also require authors who compose Internet courses specifically for us follow APA ethical standards.

Many of our courses contain case material, and may use the methods of qualitative research and analysis, in-depth interviews and ethnographic studies. The psychotherapeutic techniques depicted may include play therapy, sandplay therapy, dream analysis, drawing analysis, client and therapist self-report, etc. The materials presented may be considered non-traditional and may be controversial, and may not have widespread endorsement within the profession. www.psychceu.com maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

All material included in this course is either in the public domain, or used with express permission.

Cost of the 5 unit course is $65

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