The Impact of Forensic Psychology on Community Interaction

Police professionals often are called to the scenes of disturbances and situations where they must intervene in a way that is both professional and effective.

Many times these events occur in the context of the macro community, or large groups that contain smaller communities of individuals (e.g., a city contains neighborhoods, which may be comprised of even smaller divisions of

people based on ethnicity, education, or sport affiliations). It may seem contradictory, and even confusing, to adhere to multiple sets of rules for different groups of “communities” all at the same time—especially when some micro communities are not tied to geographic or physical parameters—but individuals do it seamlessly every day. Police professionals and forensic psychology professionals must be aware of and adhere to the rules of both micro and macro communities. In addition, they must also be aware of the influence that their interventions in a micro community may have on the macro community, and vice versa.

Macro communities can be explained as large groups or collectives of individuals, organizations, or institutions connected by the same cultural and social norms, and interpersonal rules.

Situations that occur in these macro communities can vary between major disturbances, minor situations, and events that require minimal assistance. In any of these cases, a forensic psychology professional can provide valuable assistance to police professionals through the area of research or practice.

Forensic psychology professionals can function in different roles and work closely with police professionals by advising them in their communication and interaction with macro communities, or they can actually provide direct services to the community or the police professionals and organizations.

If a forensic psychology professional decides to focus research in the area of macro

communities, he or she can be involved in a host of scholarly pursuits to educate and assist police professionals. Basic observations of the norms, values, languages, and interactional styles that

exist within a particular macro community is one example of how forensic psychology professionals can contribute to interactions with the macro community. At the minimum, forensic

psychology professionals can observe the environment, record variables of interest, and even conduct survey research to understand specific variables that may help police professionals in their interactions with macro communities.

Whatever the role a forensic psychology professional performs, the information or contribution to police professionals’ interaction with a given macro community has an impact, from improving communication to providing research that can help close a criminal case.

To prepare for this Discussion:

• Review the document, “Not in My Neighborhood: An Essay on Policing Place,” and think about how police professionals define and view neighborhoods (or macro communities).

• Review the article, “Taming the Madness of Crowds,” and think about how forensic psychology professionals can contribute to the police professionals’ understanding of macro communities.

Consider the skills that the forensic psychology professional can impart to police professionals to aid in their interaction with a macro community.

• Review the article, “Law Enforcement and the Public: The Role of Intergroup Accommodations.” Think about how forensic psychology professionals can help police professionals interact with macro communities.

• Review the article, “The Successful Resolution of Armed Hostage/Barricade Events in Schools: A Qualitative Analysis.” Think about forensic psychology professional roles and skills that can be

applied to specific macro communities.

• Select an event or situation that has affected a macro community of your choice. Your choice can be based on media or historical references, or you can choose your own community.

• Think about the roles and/or skills a forensic psychology professional could have contributed to the police professionals involved in your example. Consider how these roles and/or skills would have positively impacted the police professionals’ interactions with the macro community depicted in your example.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 4 a brief description of an event/situation that has affected a macro community. Analyze the roles and/or skills that a forensic psychology professional could have provided the

police professionals involved in your example, as well as an evaluation of the positive impact of these roles and/or skills. Be specific and support your analysis with references to the Learning

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