© 2015 by First Responders Wellness Center

Fitness For Duty Evaluations 

Fitness​ for Duty Evaluations are formal, specialized examinations of an 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 or impairment.  A completed FFDE  report will include one of four determinants with concise recommendations.  

The four determinants are 1) fit, 2) 'fit with recommended treatment',  3) 'unfit with recommended treatment' or 4) unfit.  

Fitness for Duty Information:  

A Fitness for Duty Evaluation (FFDE) is a specialized inquiry conducted by a specially qualified psychologist or psychiatrist in response to complaints of a first responder (officer, firefighter, EMS, deputy, etc.)  reported inability to perform official duties in a safe and effective manner because of mental illness or significant deterioration in cognitive abilities.  

A Fitness for Duty Evaluation is not a standard psychological evaluation but focused upon the question of the first responders' occupational or vocational functionality.   A FFDE is not a substitute for supervision or a mode of discipline. 

 

To request a Fitness for Duty Evaluation, a written referral from your agency will be required detailing the reasons for the referral.  To capture the first responders’ pattern of conduct documents requested may include performance evaluations, internal affairs investigations, use of force incidents, formal citizen/public complains, disciplinary actions, testimonials, commendations, medical/psychological treatment and/or other supporting or relevant documentation related to the first responders' psychological fitness-for-duty.   

The Fitness for Duty Evaluation results will include one of four determinants and concise recommendations.   All recommendations will follow the essential questions dictated by the American with Disabilities Act.  FFDE are provided in an unbiased professional manner utilizing state of the art assessment practices.   

Psychological Fitness for duty evaluations are necessary for the safety and welfare of the community and of department personnel and to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local laws that require commissioned and first responders must be free from any physical, emotional, or mental conditions that might adversely affect the exercise of the duties of a first responder in any way.

Please contact Dr. Carrie Steiner at 630-909-9094 for specific questions concerning Fitness for Duty Evaluations.

Common Reasons for a Fitness for Duty Evaluation:

  1. The officer appears to exhibit behavioral problems that, although not individually catastrophic, suggests a collapse in integrity, motivation, effectiveness, or judgement.   For example, an officer might show excessive absences and moodiness frequently known to relate to alcohol and depression. 

  2. When an officer has a good history of conduct and behavioral control, the sudden onset of forgetfulness, hostility, depression, withdrawal, or irrational speech points to the need for a FFDE.  For example, accusations of sexual misconduct, a series of reports of inappropriate or undesirable behavior, etc.

  3. The emergence of prejudicial, bigoted, or overbearing written or spoken conduct or behavior, especially when it relates to threats of the violation of the rights of citizens. 

  4. Allegations of the excessive, inappropriate, and unexplained use of force.

  5. Threats or insinuations of violence, particularly when associated with aggressive displays towards colleagues, superiors, or the public, such as making threats in uncontrolled desires to act out.  

  6. “Mystery” medical conditions characterized by report of debilitating psychical complaints that are not detected in repeated, standards medical examinations and are associated with excessive sick leave and absenteeism. 

  7. Complaints by family, relatives, friends, or associates of threatening or bizarre behavior off duty behavioral, frequently in the form of spousal abuse. 

  8. Any signs of emotional instability are present, particularly after a traumatic incident. 

  9. Sexual inappropriateness or acting out, especially regarding unwanted sexual advances or implication of the misuse of police authority to further a sexual action or interest by the officer. 

  10. Any form of behavior prohibited by circumscribed by civil service or personnel department rules.