Planned Police Psychology Degree Builds on TCS-LAPD Partnership
In one of its most visible partnerships to date, The Chicago School’s Los Angeles Campus has teamed with the Los Angeles Police Department to meet the need among law enforcement professionals to understand and address the mental health issues they encounter in the line of duty.
Currently in development is an M.A. in Police Psychology that will provide participants with a broad understanding of psychology as well as the skills to recognize symptoms of mental illness, provide psychological interventions, and deal with job-related trauma and stress. The new program builds on a history of collaboration that has already resulted in a series of workshops and training sessions for LAPD officers, city attorneys and social service providers throughout the city.
“This is a program that our police officers need, and that our community needs,” said Dr. Debra Warner, lead faculty for the Southern California Campuses’ Forensic Psychology Program, who has been instrumental in the development of both the partnership and the training programs. “LAPD’s current focus is on providing its officers with the education and skills to bring about significant community reform. In Skid Row alone, there is so much going on—an almost constant need for crisis intervention.”
According to LAPD data, 30 percent of its 9,200 officers have bachelor’s degrees when entering the Police Academy and very few have completed graduate study. Soon after opening its doors in April 2008, the Los Angeles Campus began discussions with the department about offering professional development opportunities for officers. The 36-credit master’s degree will meet criteria outlined in the Joint Committee on Police Psychology Competencies, and will be available in a blended format that allows participants to complete most coursework online and to integrate assignments into existing job duties. Law enforcement officers with a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of work experience may apply.