The Candidate & Officer Personnel Survey – Revised (COPS-R)

There is no silver bullet test or method for screening police officers. The best multi-faceted screening includes a thorough background investigation, polygraph (where permitted), medical screening, and an efficient psychological assessment.

The Candidate & Officer Personnel Survey – Revised (COPS-R) is designed for efficiency. It taps highly relevant information in a brief 240-item format. COPS-R gives clinicians a job-relevant, concise, and empirically validated measure of psychological traits relevant to the suitability of public safety candidates. Unique features of the test increase its utility in screening recruits and personnel.

Designed specifically for psychological screening and assessment of police and other public safety candidates, the COPS-R is used by over 800 law enforcement and public safety agencies worldwide, with a public safety norm base of over 22,000.

The COPS-R offers a unique contribution to evaluating public safety candidates by combining items that reflect both life data and questionnaire data – with each adding incremental insight into the suitability of individual candidates.

The COPS-R is distinct from most psychological instruments used in public safety candidate screenings. It focuses on issues of particular relevance, including racial/ethnic and gender bias, difficulties accepting supervision, relations with the public, relations with coworkers, rules compliance, and judgment.

The design of the COPS-R recognizes that test items are particularly susceptible to personal manipulation for purposes of presenting a favorable image. As a result, the COPS-R includes scales intended to detect both unrealistic and inaccurate responses and 23 Veracity items that can be cross-checked with known biographic information.

The COPS-R is considered primarily a measure of normal range personality traits and is best used as part of a test battery gauging other job-relevant attributes such as intellectual ability, psychopathology, and personal history. It is intended for use in conjunction with a thorough background investigation and a structured face-to-face interview by a trained and licensed examiner. It’s most effective when used in the context of the examinee’s specific culture and socio-economic upbringing.

The COPS-R is considered a medical exam under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and should be administered to job applicants in the United States only after a conditional offer of employment. Administration and use in other countries may not be similarly restricted.

Empirically Derived Risk Level Scales

  • Global Prediction Scale
  • Relations with Coworkers
  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Judgment
  • Productivity
  • Relations with Public
  • Rules Compliance
  • Use of Sick Time
  • Acceptance of Supervision (SVN)

Potential Validity Concerns

  • Desirable Responding
  • Content Awareness

Positive Descriptor Scales

  • Success
  • Social Adjustment
  • Motivation
  • Self-Discipline

Negative Descriptor Scales

  • Aggression
  • Authoritarianism
  • Bias
  • Depression
  • Gender Bias
  • Impulsivity
  • Lack of Integrity
  • Negative Work Attitudes
  • Paranoid Orientation
  • Personality Problems
  • Substance Abuse
  • Antisocial Activities
  • Family of Origin Conflicts
  • Poor Life Management
  • Opinionated
  • Worry


  • 240 True / False

Time to Complete

  • 35 to 45 minutes

Administration / Scoring Options

  • Online Administration w/ Automatic Scoring
  • Paper Administration w/ Online Scoring
  • Paper Administration w/ Scanner Scoring

Qualification Level for Administration

  • Licensed Mental Health Professional or
  • Authorized Public Safety Agency Administrator
  • Qualification for Use
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