GOOD COPS/BAD COPS: Memoirs of a Police Psychiatrist by

GOOD COPS/BAD COPS: Memoirs of a Police Psychiatrist

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The line between good and bad cops isn't quite as clear-cut as the title suggests, but Shev, a Freudian, estimates that a whopping one out of three cops are emotionally/psychologically ineligible for police work. A psychiatric consultant who began working with the force in Sausalito, Cal., in the mid-Sixties, Shev screens applicants and conducts ongoing ""discussions and counseling."" His stated object is laudable: to weed out the paranoid, the punitive, the pay-off prone--those likely to come unglued under stress. But his job raises key civil liberties issues which Shev simply waves aside. Invasion of privacy is one; cops are asked about their sex lives, relationship to parents and siblings, etc. The overriding weight of one psychiatrist's ""recommendations"" is another. In an era of cut-backs, budgetary considerations must also prevail. Shev's book--an enthusiastic toot for himself and his job--reconstructs several typical interviews and rap-sessions not verbatim but from ""composite remarks and comments."" One can't help but wonder if the evidence isn't stacked in the ""Doc's"" favor. The Sausalito program appears to have been a success, and along the way Shev developed his own theories about why people choose a policeman's career. (They're prone to the same ""rescue fantasies"" that motivate doctors and ministers.) That's all very interesting, but should an aversion to the mandatory ""psychotherapeutic interview"" be an automatic job disqualification ?

Pub Date: July 8th, 1977
Publisher: Stein & Day