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Sandra A. Caramela-Miller


There is a noted discrepancy between police psychological services offered and services utilized. It is important to understand reasons for underutilization when creating services for officers. The purpose of this study was providing empirical evidence from the officers-perspectives to answer this question. The conceptual foundation was officers may refuse participation due to police culture. The conceptual framework was represented in research questions focused on officers- perspectives regarding psychological services provided by psychologists without law enforcement (LE) experience. The participants were employed law enforcement officers (LEOs) from regions across the United States. Officer participation from all 50 states was targeted to assist in ensuring demographic variability. Phenomenological methods were employed. Samples were gathered by contacting 2 police departments (PDs) per state, in arbitrarily chosen cities and rural areas. One questionnaire with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes was sent to each department indicating the research post office box. Data were analyzed by applying qualitative research data software, open coding, in-margin notetaking procedures, and individual recognition of themes. Ten to 25 participants were required and 10 were achieved. Two categories, 6 subcategories, 2 themes, and 3 subthemes emerged from the data analyses. Data analyses aligned with previous findings in 2 aspects and did not support others. Positive social change will be affected through identifying reasons for low service utilization. Agencies may begin restructuring program policies, developing more effective training, and other psychological protocols for LEOs and providers.

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