Public Safety and Security Screening

The Institute for Human Responsiveness, Inc., (IHR) consists of myself and the network of professionals and organizational psychologists and forensic specialists that I call upon for designing, implementing and conducting both assessments and programs to increase organizational effectiveness.

Our mission is to bring the best of the behavioral sciences to empowering people and organizations to greater responsiveness in achieving their unique potential by challenging and helping change their predominant limiting paradigms.

Basically, IHR uses strategic analysis to design systems, programs and assessments to improve your organization's effectiveness. Our solutions are custom designed to meet specific and unique organizational needs.

We help develop human resource systems that:

·assess organizational climate, culture and needs, including job analysis for selection purposes ·select the best person for the company-job-person match ·maximize organizational effectiveness bring state of the art standards to all consulting: e.g. professional standards enhance legal defensibility in selection

Assessment can substantially increase satisfaction and productivity by identifying employees' strengths, weaknesses, and growth areas. This can be for hiring, promotion, training, leadership and organizational development. We prefer to use the word assessment to "test" as in many assessments there are no right of wrong answers. What is an "assessment?" Psychologists, lawyers and legislators have a broad definition of assessments:

  • questionnaires and surveys;
  • intelligence, skill, achievement, ability, apparatus, and integrity tests;
  • polygraph tests (which are outlawed for many selection uses);
  • application blanks and background questionnaires which are "scored;"
  • structured and unstructured interviews;
  • work samples; and
  • job try-outs.
  • In essence, an assessment is any means of measuring a person's characteristics, behavioral, personality, ability, attitudes, etc. Different instruments vary in subjectivity, reliability, validity, cost, and often in fairness and legality.

    The critical questions for the organization considering selection and screening are: which test or assessment instruments should we use? Which have the best predictive validity? Which are the most cost effective and legally defensible? And most important, what is our criteria for effective performance?

    Assessments help many companies hire and promote employees at all levels. Major considerations in implementing an assessment system for personnel decision making are: minimizing risk of legal actions, choosing the right assessment or battery of assessments, and implementing the system in a manner that it enhances overall effectiveness. Minimizing legal risk. As an economic and social activity that opens and closes doors, assessment has often been the subject of scrutiny by legislators and courts. Since the landmark case of Griggs vs. Duke Power through legislation such as the 1991 Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), our legal system has given psychologists guidelines by which to use assessments. Very broadly, these guidelines show psychologists how to assess in a manner that is fair to all the participants: the test-taker, the business owners, and the consumers of the organization's products or services.

    In entry level selection, we design a program of screening (instruments and interviewer skills) which are then proved to have predictive validity and which enhance diversity. Our multi-level approach to entry level assessment ensures that the most qualified individuals are hired and the diversity of the applicant pool is maintained. We achieve these results through the use of valid multiple content assessments.

    A typical entry-level process for public safety personnel (fire, police, corrections) includes:

  • a multiple-choice assessment of cognitive ability
  • occupational inventories which assess a number of risk and suitability factors
  • verbal examinations, interviews.
  • physical ability tests, if desired.
  • Each of these assessments is developed and selected on the basis of a comprehensive study and analysis of the job. Through observation, interviews, and questionnaires, we develop a model of effective job performance, called Job Analysis. From this model, we identify the essential functions, knowledge, skills, ability and personal characteristic that make a successful employee in your organization. This information is then used to develop, select, and validate each assessment.

    Our record in this field speaks for itself. For over 20 years of practice in Central Kentucky, IHR has a history of validated and ADA compliant screening in Central Kentucky with Fire, Police and Public School Bus Driver candidates, as well as with business, industry and nonprofit organizations. After Job Analysis, we select instruments known to be the most valid for the purposes defined, not only in the field of safety and security but also at the technical, management and executive level of business and industry. IHR has never been challenged in court even though some of those we failed to pass hired lawyers to examine our screening. We employ those instruments known to have excellent predictive validity for particular jobs after a job analysis. IHR has now a data base of some 1000 persons who have been screened. This means that we have the profiles of particular instruments in the field of public safety and security stored on a computer. This storing and scoring of each profile allows the individual's assessment profile to be compared with local norms. We have established these for Central Kentucky public safety and security personnel. Each new batch is added to the original group to expand our data base. We have research validating the scores of successful police recruits do not differ significantly. We have also established predictive validity on other instruments that we include in the battery for screening public safety and security, so that each step is forensically defensible under ADA as well as following the best of current professional practice.

    Dr. Paschal Baute is also a certified expert witness in the field of Personnel problems and screening, a Fellow of the American College of Forensic Examiners. He has written in the field of "The Psychologist as Expert Witness" and Expert Witness after Daubert. He has been awarded Diplomate Status, with the ACFE, in the psychological speciality of psychological assessment, evaluation and testing. He has presented workshops for the Kentucky Psychology Association annual state convention, and has presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Division 14, of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Baute does most of this screening himself. If it is necessary to delegate some of it to others, he retains the responsibility of oversight, professional standards according to acceptable professional practice, and appropriate professional liability insurance.

    Click for an article summarizing 17 years of psychological screening in this arena.