Are the Police Intentionally Hiring Stupid People?

According to a recent article, at least one police department in Connecticut deliberately and officially refuses to hire people who are too smart:

On March 16, 1996 Robert Jordan from Connecticut, and 500 others underwent a written screening process which included the Wonderlic Test, conducted by the Law Enforcement Council of  Southeastern Connecticut, Inc. (“LEC”), a coalition of fourteen cities and towns, in order to apply for a position as a police officer.

Several months later Jordan learned that the city of New London started interviewing candidates. After not hearing from them, Jordan inquired as to why he was passed over.

Jordan eventually learned from assistant city manager Keith Harrigan that he would not be interviewed because he “didn’t fit the profile.”

Thinking it was obviously age discrimination because he was 46 at the time, Jordan filed an administrative complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

The response that he received was completely out of left field. The city responded that it removed Jordan from consideration because he scored a 33 on the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, and that to prevent frequent job turnover caused by hiring overqualified applicants the city only interviewed candidates who scored between 20 and 27.

The city of New London claims that “People within certain ranges achieve a degree of job satisfaction and are likely to be happy and therefore stay on the job.” They apparently believed that Jordan was too smart to be happy being a cop.

Interesting. The question, of course, is whether other police departments have a similar policy. I’m sure they won’t be voluntarily offering this information anytime soon. But if they wanted to discriminate on the basis of intelligence, that would be legal now. A federal court has ruled against Jordan, saying that the Connecticut police department did nothing wrong.

The court said that because the police department refused to hire any smart people, Jordan couldn’t claim that he was particularly being discriminated against.

Does the court have any idea what discrimination actually is? Discriminating against a whole group of people is not better than discriminating against an isolated individual. It’s worse. By the same logic you could say that a restaurant that refuses service to all black people is not discriminating. “They’re not discriminating against you personally. They don’t serve any black people.” Sheesh. Maybe that court had the same low-intelligence application requirements as the police department.

So we can’t say for sure that all police departments are suffering from these same hiring policies. Though if the current state of the police force is any indication, it wouldn’t be an unreasonable conjecture.

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