State Disciplines Kenneth Sachs, Unqualified Psychologist Cut Corners on Police Evaluations

February 5, 2018


On February 2, 2018, the Maryland State Board of Examiners of Psychologists placed the license of psychologist Kenneth Sachs on probation for two years.

Sachs was the president of Psychology Consultants Associated (PCA), which was a contractor hired by several Maryland police agencies to provide pre-employment psychological evaluations to police officer applicants. Sachs hired independent contractors to assist him in evaluating applicants and providing fitness-for-duty evaluations for police officers.

The Board initiated an investigation of PCA based on a complaint it received from another psychologist who reported that Sachs did not possess the education, training, or competence to conduct such evaluations of police and public safety officers. Further, the psychologist stated that Sachs’ used invalid and unreliable testing methods and instruments in evaluating applicants.

In an interview with Board investigators, Sachs was asked if he had attended any continuing education in the last five years which was relevant to screening police applicants. Sachs was unable to report any such relevant continuing education.

In response to questions from the Board about his testing methods, he could not provide any data or documentation to substantiate his use or the relevance of the “sentence completion” or “draw-a-person” tests that he used on applicants.

Additionally, the Board received a complaint from the Office of Inspector General for Baltimore City (OIG), which included a copy of OIG’s investigation report which found that PCA had failed to comply with the his contract with Baltimore City.

According to the report, terms of this contract required PCA to conduct one-hour assessment interviews with police applicants as part of the examination.

OIG conducted interviews with police officers and trainees, three-quarter of whom reported that PCA only conducted 30-minute interviews with applicants. OIG thus concluded that Sachs had breached the contract since he was paid for 60-minute interviews.

The Board received a report from yet another psychologist who stated that Sachs sent her an email indicating that he was looking for contractors to conduct pre-employment screening evaluations that would require 15-20 minute interviews with applicants. In response to the allegation, as presented to Sachs by the Board, Sachs suggested that the psychologist had misinterpreted his email.

The Board referred the case to an expert for review. The expert concluded that Sach’s education in the area of evaluation of police department candidates was insufficient that he failed to avail himself of any continuing education on the subject. Further, the expert concluded that his testing methods and choice of testing instruments were insufficient for the purpose of pre-employment screening and evaluation of police department candidates.

The city’s mayor suspended the PCA’s contract in August 2015. The City of Baltimore parted ways with the company in 2016.

Though the Board credited one year of Sach’s probation, he is permanently prohibited from performing, consulting on, or supervising any pre-employment screening or fitness-for-duty evaluation for police or public safety candidates.

Source: Consent Order in the Matter of Kenneth Sachs, Ph.D., License No. 00457, Maryland State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, Case 2016-026 & 028, February 2, 2018; “Baltimore firm accused of cutting corners on police psych evaluations,” Associated Press, August 6, 2015; and “Mayor suspends contractor amid allegations of rushed police psych evaluations,” Baltimore Sun, August 7, 2015.


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