top of page

Policing: What happened to being "Fit-to-Serve?"

A conversation with Dr. Thomas Fuentes, Judge David Morris, & Judge William Murphy.

Once a month, we will be hosting a legal hour moderated by Judge William Murphy. The purpose of the legal hour is to provide our listening audience with advocacy strategies, litigation strategies, and/or next steps for tackling social justice reform issues. This week, we had the opportunity to speak with Judge David Morris and Dr. Thomas Fuentes regarding issues surrounding policing. Morris and Fuentes are members of Morris & McDaniel, a firm that offers testing and assessment, legal safeguarding, organizational development, educational consulting, and more.

William H. Murphy, J.D.

Judge Murphy is a senior and founding partner at Murphy, Falcon, & Murphy law firm. He has been a Baltimore trial attorney for decades, aggressively and effectively handling a broad range of cases including criminal defense, medical malpractice, personal injury, and more. Judge Murphy has a 90% success rate in federal cases, which is four times higher than the national average (9%).

Dr. David M. Morris, PH.D., J.D.

Morris studied the concept of natural justice at the World Court in the Hague for three terms before founding his firm in 1976. Morris is an Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychologist and attorney, which gives him a very unique perspective of the law and the development of personnel procedures.

Thomas V. Fuentes, B.A.

Fuentes is the Vice President for International Development of Morris & McDaniel. Fuentes served as Assistant Director for the FBI for 29 years, including 11 years as a member of the U.S. Government's Senior Executive Service. He has been apart of Morris & McDaniel since 2013.

How do we prevent unfit people from entering the police force?

8 percent of people in the general population are psychologically unfit to be police officers. That sounds like a pretty high number, right? What's even more astonishing is that 40 percent of individuals in the pool of applicants (to become officers) are psychologically unfit. In summary, this means that a person trying to enter the police force is more than three times as likely to possess traits and exhibit behaviors that deem them unfit than a person who is chosen at random from the general population. In order to prevent these individuals from becoming police officers, testing must be more efficient in screening for unfit candidates. The first tests developed to determine a potential officer's goodness of fit for the job simply measured an individual's ability to adequately perform the job. While these tests are a necessary part of screening, they leave out a much more important part of the picture - the person's character. When assessing character, it is particularly important to examine an individual's capacity for empathy, their ability to understand and share the feelings of others. People who are unable to empathize with others are likely to do great harm in positions of power. Specifically, people who exhibit traits of narcissism pose the greatest risk. A hallmark trait of narcissism is a stunted capacity to love. Narcissists are so self-absorbed that they are not even able to love or care for members of their own family. When a narcissist becomes a police officer, their blatant disregard for others becomes apparent. They are more likely to use excessive force and take bribes, and less likely to perform any duty that involves helping others. More screening = more ways to identify these individuals before they are able to wreak havoc on the lives of others.

Once an unfit officer is on the force, how do you get them off?

The simple answer? Don't hire them to begin with. It is much more difficult to remove an officer from the police force than it is not to hire them in the first place. We need to shine a brighter light on the fact that action must be taken when a problematic officer is identified to remove them from the force before they become a danger to others. The FBI recently gave a report stating that hate groups such as the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) are trying to infiltrate law enforcement. In order to prevent these individuals from entering the police force, the FBI has identified certain factors indicative of membership in a hate group. This system must be implemented within the promotional system so that they are unable to enter in the first place.

Police officers must subsume the civic duty of alerting their departments if they have suspicions that an individual may be unfit for the job. Upon doing so, action must be taken to evaluate the officer in order to determine if they stay or go. This evaluation must consider both the officer's behaviors as well as the results of their psychological testing. There are many helpful instruments that are verifiably effective in detecting personality traits, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2). Performing tests like these can indicate an officer's goodness of fit or lack thereof, but their behaviors must confirm what the test has alerted to. If an individual is deemed unfit, they must be disqualified.

Check out this amazing TED talk by Sgt. Fred Jones, who advocates for emotional intelligence training for law enforcement officers...

The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) INTERPOL is an inter-governmental organization that enables police around the world to share and access data on crimes and criminals by offering a wide range of technical and operational support. INTERPOL is run by the Secretary General and staffed by police and civilians. They keep countries connected 24/7 via a communications system known as I-24/7. Countries can use this network to contact each other and to access databases and services in real time. INTERPOL offers investigative support such as forensics, analysis, and assistance in locating fugitives around the world. They support national efforts in combating crimes across three important global areas: terrorism, cybercrime, and organized crime.

Check out this video below to learn more about INTERPOL...

Click here to watch this week's episode:


89 views0 comments


bottom of page