Dr. Karen L. Amendola, Chief Behavioral Scientist, Appointed by American Psychological Association (APA) to Serve on APA’s Presidential Task Force on Police Use of Force Against African Americans

October 30, 2020—The American Psychological Association (APA) has appointed Dr. Karen L. Amendola, Chief Behavioral Scientist at the National Police Foundation, to serve on the APA’s Presidential Task Force on Police Use of Force Against African Americans. The Task Force will assist the APA’s effort to inform a national movement toward greater racial justice through recommendations for implementing evidence-based practices to successfully eliminate racial disparities in police use-of-force. Furthermore, this work will aim to highlight the role of psychological research in improving community-police relations, as well as the importance of law enforcement partnerships with behavioral health experts.

The Task Force meetings will begin on November 1, 2020 and will end on January 31, 2021. The Task Force will meet three or four times for as much as four hours for each meeting.

The emphasis of the Task Force will be on implementation and ongoing evaluation of evidence-based practices by communities, their local jurisdictions, and the law enforcement agencies that serve them. According to Amendola, “the reduction of disparities in police use of force as well as the improved health and well-being people of color and their communities are not likely to be achieved by reactive or unsystematic efforts, but instead must be driven by scientifically-tested approaches, especially those  generated from the field of psychology whose aim is to examine human behavior, its origins and its social impacts.”

The APA is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the U.S., numbering over 121,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Since the 1940’s, psychologists have made fundamental scientific contributions to our understanding of the nature of prejudice, stereotypes and their impact on shaping human actions, emotions, and judgments. As experts in human behavior, the contributions of psychologists are critical to addressing societal concerns about crime, justice, policing, and race.

The APA has previously issued testimony to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary during the Oversight Hearing on Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability on June 10, 2020.

To learn more about the APA, please visit their website at: https://www.apa.org

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