Psychological Disqualification Appeals
Notice of Proposed Disqualification (NOPD)
Too many young men and women are wrongfully branded as "Psychologically Unsuitable" as candidates for law enforcement positions. These determinations compromise their ability to ever be employed in a law enforcement career. For example, imagine learning that the reason you were deemed unsuitable was due to the fact that you had mental health intervention, a decade ago, when your parents divorced—"Poor Stress Tolerance."
Have you taken the written examination and psychological interview for New York City Police Officer or New York City Correction Officer and received a NOTICE OF PROPOSED DISQUALIFICATION (NOPD)?
We Can Help
Contact Dr. Mark Lerner, Clinical, Forensic and Police Psychologist at (631) 385-7551 or Robert Kronenberg, Esq., NYPD Capt. Ret. at (631) 234-4434 or (212) 776-1950 for a FREE confidential telephone consultation.
"Withdrawing" from the Process
While NYPD and DOC candidates deemed "PSYCHOLOGICALLY UNSUITABLE" are offered the opportunity to "WITHDRAW," they are NOT informed that their psychological files remain with the NYPD and/or the DOC. This documentation can be utilized at any time in the future by the NYPD, DOC or another law enforcement agency. Only by appealing a psychological disqualification can a candidate clear one’s name.
Appealing a Proposed Disqualification
The New York City Police Department and the New York City Department of Correction have changed their process regarding the appeal of a psychological disqualification. The initial notice forwarded to the candidate will state that the NYPD/DOC “is proposing to disqualify you from this position.” The change is the NYPD/DOC’s use of the word “proposing”. It is at that point that the candidate will be able to begin the appeal process. If the candidate fails to initiate the process after receiving the Notice of Proposed Disqualification (i.e., typically within 30 days), the disqualification will be deemed final and the candidate will not be able to obtain his/her psychological disqualification file from the NYPD/DOC. Thus, it is critical that the candidate begin the appeal process when he/she receives the notice of proposed psychological disqualification.
Other Law Enforcement Evaluations
If you require a psychological evaluation for other law enforcement agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Sheriffs Department, New York State Department of Correction, etc., contact Dr. Mark Lerner.
Appealing a Civil Service Psychological Disqualification
Have you applied for the position of police officer, correction officer, probation officer, park ranger, state trooper, sheriff, firefighter or other civil service position and learned that you have been psychologically disqualified?
If you believe that this decision is wrong or capricious, you should appeal this determination. In most jurisdictions, you have a very limited time frame (e.g., 30 days) to initiate your appeal.
Psychological evaluations for civil service positions typically include both written (i.e., paper and pencil) objective assessment and an oral (i.e., self-report) clinical interview. The former often involve the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2), the California Psychological Inventory (CPI), the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory - III (MCMI-III), a Candidate Questionnaire (e.g., CPQ; Police Candidate Questionnaire) and the Cornell Index (CI). Additionally, some evaluators will utilize projective measures including the Rorschach, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and drawings. The clinical interview is generally a structured series of questions.
Candidates may be psychologically disqualified for a number of reasons such as anxiety, depression, poor judgement, poor credibility, immaturity, etc. Additionally, maladaptive behaviors are considered. These generally include difficulties in such areas as school, employment, one's personal history, etc.
When appealing a psychological disqualification, candidates are strongly advised to seek the legal advice of an attorney, such as Mr. Kronenberg, who is experienced in handling civil service cases. An independent psychological evaluation will need to be performed by a clinical and forensic psychologist, such as Dr. Lerner.
The independent psychological evaluation will include a review of the entire civil service psychological record and provide additional psychological evidence to be considered in concert with the content of the candidate’s psychological file.
Finally, whether or not you are intent on pursing employment with the civil service position to which you applied, it is strongly advisable to appeal a psychological disqualification. Such a determination can compromise your ability to secure employment with another entity. By appealing your disqualification and having an independent psychological evaluation conducted, you can have a document in hand that addresses the validity of your disqualification and sets the record straight regarding your current psychological functioning and ability to perform the requisite functions of the job to which you applied.
"Why was a preliminary decision made that I was "PSYCHOLOGICALLY UNSUITABLE?"
Following is a list of some of the most common reasons for being found psychologically unsuitable for law enforcement positions:
• Excessive Anger
• Poor Judgment
• Poor Impulse Control
• Bias (racial or other)
• Poor presentation
• Poor Stress Tolerance
• Poor Interpersonal Skills
• Poor Social Competence
• Poor Dutifulness
• Substance Misuse/Abuse/Addition (including alcohol)
• Failure to Adjust to the Psychological Demands of Adulthood
• Poor Credibility
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