Welcome Letter from the Specialty Board President

Gary L. Fischler, PhD, ABPP

Thank you for your interest in the American Board of Police & Public Safety Psychology (ABPPSP). It will be a privilege to serve at the board president for 2022-23. Police & Public Safety Psychology (PPSP) is an area of specialized practice first recognized by the American Psychological Association in 2008*.  As one of the 15 specialty board of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), we strive to maintain and, where possible, improve the quality of professional practice in PPSP through following a board certification process that not only credentials qualified psychologists, but also serves as a collegial and collaborative process by which applicants for board certification can validate their strengths and grow in areas that are less well-developed. If you ask one of our specialists they are likely to tell you that achieving board certification was one of their most rewarding professional experiences and resulted in elevating their professional competence and confidence. Our Academy is very active and offers an array of stimulating specialized education and training for all experience levels that is rarely available elsewhere. Many of the Academy’s training opportunities are available in person or online through our partner, Concept Continuing and Professional Studies, in conjunction with Palo Alto University. In addition to providing continuing education, the Academy’s mission is to help develop core curricula for interested universities and professional schools.

In addition to elevating one’s level of practice, board certification can have several other professional advantages, including broadening employment and practice opportunities, and in some situations (e.g., U.S. Military Psychologists, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Psychologists, private employers) provide opportunities for enhanced income. Our board strongly encourages and welcomes applications from psychologists whose practice milieu includes a strong emphasis on law enforcement or other important areas of public safety (including, but not limited to, fire and emergency services, corrections, military, aeronautics, power plant personnel, etc.). Although the standards are high, they are quite achievable for the vast majority of psychologists who have a solid generalist background and at least two years of specialized experience. Our website offers a step-by-step guide for applying to the ABPPSP, along with white papers in our document library that provide a comprehensive outline for specialist qualifications.

Whether you are a board-certified specialist or an applicant who wants to learn more about the board certification process, we are here to help. Feel free to contact me or any of the other specialty board members. I am delighted to be able to take over leadership of the board, which has been managed so successfully for the past two years by past-president Dr. Jocelyn Roland. Dr. Brian Mangan is the President Elect and National Chair of Examinations and can answer any question about the application, practice sample, or oral examination processes. Dr. Jaime Brower is the Academy President and a great resource for learning about available training. If you are an early career psychologist (10 years post-doctoral degree), you are likely to qualify for a $500 upon successful completing of the board certification process through the Dr. Eileen M. Gupton Memorial Scholarship Fund. Many questions from military psychology applicants can be answered by Navy Captain, Dr. Carrie Kennedy. Dr. Richard Wihera is a great resource to learn more about the mentoring process. If you are a current specialist and need information about Maintenance of Competence certification, Dr. Bruce Cappo can help. 1 PPSP was initially recognized as a proficiency in 2008, and a specialty in 2013.

Recent history has provided an unprecedented backdrop to policing, public safety, and psychologists who work in these milieus. It is clear that public safety workers, mental health professionals, and the general public have been living and working with extraordinary challenges brought about by crises in personal health and healthcare, the laser focus on police and the use of force, the urgency to create a more equitable society, and civil unrest and the deep polarization of our people. It has never been a more challenging time to be a public safety psychologist. ABBPSP looks forward to these responding to these current and future challenges by providing a medium to collaborate and raise the level of professional practice for PPSP psychologists.

Gary L. Fischler, PhD, ABPP
President, American Board of Police and Public Safety Psychology

* PPSP was initially recognized as a proficiency in 2008, and a specialty in 2013.