Fitness for Duty Evaluations (FFDE)

The process that Public Safety Psychology, PLLC uses in our Fitness for Duty Evaluations (FFDE), like the pre-employment evaluation, is designed to comply with the guidelines established by the Psychological Services section of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

These guidelines define the FFDE as a formal, specialized examination of an incumbent employee that results from (1) objective evidence that the employee may be unable to safely or effectively perform a defined job and (2) a reasonable basis for believing that the cause may be attributable to a psychological condition. The FFDE is not meant to replace department disciplinary procedures and it is wise to consult with the department’s legal counsel before pursuing this route.

The process for a FFDE is more extensive, time consuming, and painstaking than the typical pre-employment evaluation because the consequences (potentially losing a career) are much higher. The FFDE usually starts with a review of pertinent records such as an incident report, disciplinary records and performance evaluations from the department. The officer is then interviewed, usually at our office, and a careful disclosure of the nature and purpose of the evaluation is reviewed and signed by the officer.

This first appointment may also includes written psychological tests, specifically selected for the presenting problem in the individual case. The officer is also asked to sign releases of information so that we can access other relevant records such as mental health treatment records. After the interview, collateral contacts such as supervisors, family members, co-workers, etc., may be contacted with the officer’s permission to get more objective information.

Once the requested records have been received, a second interview may be necessary. This allows us to follow up on information gathered from the records, the collaterals, as well as the psychological tests. Sometimes a second interview is not necessary or can be done over the phone if the officer is traveling a great distance to get to our office.

The report on a FFDE is less structured and uniform than the report of the pre-employment evaluations. Because each FFDE is unique depending on the referral question, the report is more narrative in nature. The report concludes with a clear statement about the officer’s suitability to return to work, including some recommendations about what the officer needs to do if a negative recommendation is made. A sample report can be found on a subsequent page of this web site.