The Delaware State Police (DSP) was formed in 1923 and has been enhancing safety in the state ever since. This progressive agency – current employing around 950 employees – aims to enhance the quality of life for all Delaware citizens and visitors by providing professional, competent, and compassionate law enforcement services. The DSP has been working with PSI for their testing processes for more than 22 years.
In 1998, the DSP was seeking a responsible vendor to develop testing processes. They were seeking a vendor who could provide screening and identification processes for entry level applicants who have the aptitude to successfully complete the rigorous training and perform the functions of an entry level Delaware State Trooper.
In 2006, the DSP’s screening and identification needs were extended to promotional testing for the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain.
Entry Level Trooper Examinations
In 1998, the DSP selected PSI as their partner for developing, validating, and scoring the entry level Trooper Examination. The exact contents of the examination have evolved over the years, ensuring they are meeting the needs of the DSP. Currently, the examination is based on two essential components:
- PSI’s Law Enforcement Aptitude Battery (LEAB), a set of assessment instruments covering three basic areas: cognitive abilities, approaches to work or what we refer to as personal workstyle, and background information or biodata.
- A Structured Oral Interview including a series of self-awareness, behavioral, and situational questions designed to target cognitive abilities and personal characteristics underlying effective Trooper performance.
In addition, PSI provides a preparation guide for each test component to assist candidates with their examination preparation.
Promotion Examinations for Sergeants, Lieutenants, and Captains
Beginning in 2006, the DSP expanded its partnership with PSI to include developing, validating, administering, and scoring promotion examinations for the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain. As with the Trooper Examinations, these examination processes have evolved over the years to ensure optimal fit with DSP’s business needs. Currently, the test components include:
- Oral Board Test exercises (all positions)
- A multiple-choice Technical Knowledge Test (Sergeant and Lieutenant positions)
- Validated Written Experience Summary (Sergeant and Lieutenant positions)
- Narrative-style In-Basket Test (Captain position)
The processes include a preparation guide and voluntary orientation sessions to assist candidates in preparing for the examinations.
Ongoing Job Analysis, Validation, and Reporting
Since the start of the partnership, PSI has been conducting regular job analysis and validity studies to ensure the evolving responsibilities and characteristics for the positions are always covered by the entry level and promotional examinations.
“PSI is a highly-trusted asset for our agency. I believe they represent the best the industry has to offer in terms of technical and procedural guidance and facilitation.”
Captain Alice J. Brumbley, Former Director of Human Resources, Delaware State Police
For Entry Level Trooper Examinations
At the outset of the project in 1998 and around every five years, PSI has conducted a job analysis for the position of DSP Trooper. Following the completion of each job analysis, the activities and results are documented in a report to inform the DSP and serve as documentation to report on Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) accreditation benchmarks.
In addition, at these same points in time PSI has been conducting studies to verify the validity of the LEAB assessment for selecting troopers in the DSP.
Finally, at the conclusion of each administration cycle, PSI reports on the results of the administration to assess the effectiveness of achieving the DSP’s operational goals.
Biannually, before each administration, PSI conducts a job analysis to document the current responsibilities and the underlying knowledge and skills required for each position.
In addition, the test components included in the DSP promotion examinations are validated, and the PSI team works with DSP sworn members to develop and finalize the test components and resolve candidate appeals to finalize scoring.
Each examination administration concludes with the production of an eligibility list, candidate score and feedback reports, and a final report to document all project activities and serve as documentation to report on CALEA accreditation benchmarks.
PSI has solidly partnered with the DSP on their examination practices for over 20 years. To date, PSI has tested around:
- 9,000 entry-level Trooper candidates
- 700 Sergeant candidates
- 200 Lieutenant candidates
- 100 Captain candidates
Per the results of promotion candidate reaction surveys, the majority of candidates indicate agreement that the promotion exams are administered in a fair and objective manner.