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Law Enforcement Exam Strategies – How to Pass the B-PAD (Behavioral Personnel Assessment Device)

Law Enforcement Exam Strategies – How to Pass the B-PAD (Behavioral Personnel Assessment Device)

What is the BPAD (Behavioral Personnel Assessment Device)?

It’s SHOW TIME… The BPAD, also known as the Video Simulation Exercise is an assessment exercise which requires you to watch a scenario on a TV monitor. The scenario represents what police officers experience on the job. You will be asked to respond as though the people on the screen are talking to you. Knowledge of police procedures is not required for this test. But it sure helps. Most experienced police officers would do very well on this portion of the test.

It evaluates an individual’s interpersonal, communication and problem-solving skills in dealing with a variety of people in difficult situations, like those that police officers encounter. So the more you know about how officers respond to a variety of difficult interpersonal situations the better your B-Pad performance will be.

B-PAD Basics

When taking the BPAD you will view video-based simulations on a TV or computer monitor. The simulations are based on real life police interpersonal encounters. You are then expected to respond verbally, as if talking to real people in a real situation. Your responses are videotaped and then scored using standardized criteria. It is based on the premise that the best indicator of future behavior is observed behavior under similar situations.

Important Tip:

By presenting your answers in a logical sequence, you will elevate your scores considerably. It will show the examiners you think logically and have planning and organizational skills. Examiners don’t score you on finding the perfect solution, but how well you find a solution and communicate your findings.

BPAD Tests Your People Skills

As a law enforcement officer you must be able to work effectively with people?” B-PAD video tests assess your people skills and common sense judgment. You will not be tested on your job knowledge or personality; rather you will be tested on your interpersonal competence. B-PAD measures behavioral skills and abilities not readily measured by conventional methods.

Why do Law Enforcement Agencies use B-PAD for testing?

B-PAD is a preferred form of testing because it’s a valid and fair method for assessing candidate behavior under standardized testing conditions. For instance, the oral interview requires candidates to state what they “would do” in response to a hypothetical situation, on the other hand the B-PAD requires that the candidate demonstrate his or her skills by role-playing a response.

What to expect when taking the BPAD

When taking the BPAD you will receive both oral and written instructions. Then you’ll receive instructions again from the video moderator and be given the opportunity to view and respond to a practice scenario. Scenarios depicting incidents such as an irate citizen, angry motorist, an insubordinate employee, etc. Each scenario is from one to two minutes long. Once the scenario is completed, the word “respond” appears on the screen and you will then have a set amount of time (usually about 45 seconds) to respond to the scenario as if you are responding to real people in a real situation.

How to prepare for the B-Pad

You prepare for the B-Pad the same way you prepare for the role playing exercise. It’s actually the same thing except, instead of reacting to a real person you’re reacting to a video tape.

Irate Citizen Performance Tips:

The Irate Citizen exercise tests the candidate’s ability to analyze and correct citizen related problems and to calm down an irate citizen. The irate Citizen in the video tape will be adversarial and test the candidate’s ability to maintain his composure and handle stress.

The raters will assess communication, interpersonal sensitivity, judgment and professionalism. Your success in this exercise depends on your ability to display these qualities.

Example of an irate Citizen exercise:

You may receive a note that reads something like this; Officer Jones see Joseph Smith at 1218 North 78th Street regarding a citizen’s complaint. A squad was there earlier and the citizen was not happy with the service.

The candidate then knocks on a door and the video tape begins: The citizen opens with a statement like: “I can’t believe you finally got here. I called four times.”

The irate citizen will continue by saying something like; “The reason I originally called is because somebody broke into my car and the squad took 45 minutes to arrive. They just took the information, they didn’t take fingerprints and they left.”

Suggested Response —

“Hi, I’m Officer Jones, I’m sorry about your inconvenience. Although you called four times, I just received the call about ten minutes ago. I got here as soon as I could so I could help you with the problem.”

The candidate must contend with the citizen’s irritated mood while he attempts to solve the problem. This is a ploy to test the candidate’s reaction. If the candidate becomes agitated and loses his composure, he will fail the exercise.

Always Remember Part of the Test is Your Composure.

If the candidate remains calm and continues attempting to solve the problem, the irate citizen role player is usually instructed by the test administrators to calm down. If the candidate accomplishes this, he or she will receive high scores for this exercise. Strategy:

Things to keep in mind when handling the irate citizen:

1. Your role-playing.

2. You represent the organization.

3. Your task is to: a. Calm down an irate citizen. b. Offer solutions to help solve the citizen’s problem.

4. How you handle stress and maintain your composure is part of the test.

5. Remain calm and respectful at all times.

6. Use logic and be professional.

7. Explain organizational policy but don’t apologize for it.

8. Keep track of time limits. Solve the problem before time runs out.

9. Indicate you will talk to all parties involved, investigate the complaint and get back to citizen with the results of your investigation. Give specific dates and times for getting back to irate citizen with the results.

Example of an irate Angry Motorist:

You pulled over a female driver, she gets out of her car, comes up to you screaming about how you are harassing her because she is a female and asks if you do that to all the female drivers. She then takes out her D/L and throws it on the ground.

Suggested Response.

You say to the women, “I need you to pick up your Drivers License and hand it to me. Then go sit in your car and I will be with you in a minute.” If she does not comply, say, “please go back to your car.” You then pick up the drivers license and issue her a littering ticket as well as the original citation.

Be polite, but be assertive when you must. Always remember, YOU have to control the scene – don’t let them control you. The BPAD can be a bit intimidating but if you keep these principles and concepts in mind when taking it you’ll have a much better chance for success.

Copyright (c) 2009 Don Cirillo