Society for Police and Criminal Psychology

Top 10 Reasons to Attend the
Society for Police and Criminal Psychology Conference:
A Student Perspective

As a graduate student, I am cognizant of the conferences that I choose to attend. While it is important to present one’s research in general, the forum that it is presented at, and the audience it is presented to, are crucial considerations. Therefore, when I noticed the call go out for the 2016 Society for Police and Criminal Psychology (SPCP) conference in Austin, Texas, I began tackling a proposal to submit. My lab mates have been involved in the conference for years, and I have been lucky enough to present at the conference several times. Why do we choose SPCP? Here are just a few of the reasons:

1. The Research - First and foremost, the SPCP conference provides students with the opportunity to hear from some of world’s leading experts in the field of police psychology. Students are exposed to cutting edge research, oftentimes before it has even been published; this is great if one is looking for insight or ideas for future directions in their own research.

2. The Diversity - Relatedly, the presentations at the conference are delivered by a diverse group of people. Some of the presenters are police officers, others are academics, and some are clinical psychologists who work with the police. There is a wide range of disciplines represented (e.g., psychology, sociology, criminology, and criminal justice), from all across the world – Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Italy, and Thailand, among others. The knowledge base is comprehensive and multifaceted.    

3. The Networking - The conference also offers ample opportunity for students to meet the presenters, and other attendees. Regardless of whether one is interested in hearing feedback on a project, developing a new idea for a study, securing data, identifying potential research participants, or exploring job opportunities, networking and collaboration prospects abound!

4. The Intimacy - One of the unique aspects of the SPCP conference, relative to others, is how personal it is. The board and organizers make a concerted effort to ensure that there is time built-in for everyone to get to know each other and converse – whether it is at the hospitality suite or during the sessional breaks. 

5. The Recognition – They also recognize outstanding contributions to the field of policing and criminal psychology at the conference. Students, for example, have the opportunity to win the Michael Serafino Award for Best Student Poster. Students often also win a few books through the SPCP book raffle!

6. The Food – The SPCP conference is known for never letting anyone leave hungry. There is always an impressive spread of food provided throughout the day, every day. There is also the annual banquet, which gives everyone a chance to socialize over the local cuisine.

7. The Poster Session – The SPCP poster session is busy! There is a lot of interest in the posters and presenters are constantly talking to attendees. Student presenters have the opportunity to share their research with both academics and practitioners, receive kudos and constructive feedback, and gain experience preparing an academic poster, delivering a presentation, and answering questions from colleagues.  

8. The Journal – The conference is a great place to learn about publishing opportunities. The Editor of The Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology is often in attendance and available to answer questions or hear about new research; this means that interested students can discuss potentially publishing their research in the Society’s journal.

9. The Travel – The conference is always held somewhere new, which means students get to travel to some great places and visit some amazing sites. The conference has been held in Las Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta, Honolulu, Birmingham, and now Austin! Why not arrive a day early or leave a day late to tour the town and grab some souvenirs?

10. The Enjoyment - After attending SPCP, and having had the chance to meet inspiring presenters, hear about exciting new research, and discuss graduate school experiences, students often fly home reenergized to tackle their next study, or write the next section of their thesis.

Don’t take my word for it though. Come see for yourself how SPCP is different.

See you in Texas!

Brittany Blaskovits
Ph.D. Candidate, Police Research Lab
Department of Psychology, Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada



Society for Police and Criminal Psychology

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