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Officers’ experiences of fitness-for-duty evaluations: A phenomenological study

1 January 2016


A qualitative study was conducted to explore police officers’ experiences of Fitness-for-Duty Evaluations (FFDEs). Six officers were interviewed individually about their experiences of the FFDE process. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using a qualitative approach known as the empirical phenomenological psychological (EPP) method. The major themes that surfaced across interviews were perceived ostracism and powerlessness, which involved subthemes of alienation, punishment, stigma, and fear. Factors that influenced officers’ reported experiences were a lack of union protection, the concurrent experience of Worker’s Compensation evaluations in some cases, the Black Lives Matter Movement, the timing of the evaluation, and unclear FFDE policies. The findings have implications for the manner in which police supervisors and psychological evaluators approach FFDEs.


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