Fitness for Duty Evaluations (FFDE)
A career in public safety, be it in law enforcement, the fire service, or the welfare of children (DCFS), is one of honor, dedication, and commitment to public safety. However, the relentless demands and challenging situations public safety professionals face can take a toll on their mental and emotional well-being. A FFDE is requested when a public safety professional’s behavior may reflect that they have a psychological condition that impairs their ability to safely and effectively perform their essential job functions. Utilizing excessive sick time, suspected drug or alcohol use, or patterns of risky and aggressive behavior may result in a referral for a FFDE.
Why a Fitness for Duty Evaluation Matters:
- Safety First: The safety of public safety professionals and the communities they serve is paramount. A Fitness for Duty Evaluation helps ensure that officers are mentally and emotionally fit to perform their duties effectively and safely. The ultimate goal is to determine if the public safety professional can perform their essential job functions safely and effectively.
- Early Intervention: Identifying and addressing psychological concerns early is essential. By conducting these evaluations, psychologists can detect potential issues before they escalate, providing agencies and their employees with recommendations for interventions.
- Protecting Careers: A Fitness for Duty Evaluation can help protect a public safety professional’s career. It allows the psychologist to make informed decisions about duty assignments and possibly provide a path for rehabilitation if necessary, helping public safety professionals continue their invaluable service.
What the Evaluation Involves:
Our Fitness for Duty Evaluation is conducted by experienced forensic psychologists who understand the unique challenges of law enforcement. The evaluation includes:
- Consultation with the Public Safety Agency. The executive or supervisor will provide our psychologist with a memo or written description of the evidence that raises their concern about the public safety professional’s fitness. They can also provide any specific questions they want the psychologist to address in the evaluation.
- Psychological Testing: Standardized psychological tests are administered to assess specific areas of concern, such as psychopathology and personality. If cognitive impairments are expected, then neuropsychological tests will be administered.
- Clinical Interview: The psychologist will assess the public safety professional’s mental health, emotional stability, stress-coping abilities, and overall psychological readiness for duty through a detailed clinical interview.
- Report & Recommendations: Based on the evaluation results, the psychologist will write a comprehensive report summarizing the findings and provide recommendations as requested by the agency.