Please note: this story is from the year 2000
N E W L O N D O N, Conn., Sept. 8, 2000
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The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court’s decision that the city did not discriminate against Robert Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test.
“This kind of puts an official face on discrimination in America against people of a certain class,” Jordan said today from his Waterford home. “I maintain you have no more control over your basic intelligence than your eye color or your gender or anything else.”
He said he does not plan to take any further legal action.
Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, took the exam in 1996 and scored 33 points, the equivalent of an IQ of 125. But New London police interviewed only candidates who scored 20 to 27, on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training.
Most Cops Just Above Normal The average score nationally for police officers is 21 to 22, the equivalent of an IQ of 104, or just a little above average.
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This raises disturbing questions about this hiring practice – not only the fact that IQ testing itself is done, but that there is an upper limit at which a department will take new hires.
I can’t think of a field in which more IQ is less desirable by an employer or seen as an impediment, and that the risk of boredom at a job that, by nature, comes with a wide range of tasks and exposure to the public, might carry more of a risk of boredom with it, the higher one goes up the IQ scale. If that were the case, would we screen nurses for such IQ ranges to determine suitability for employment? Comparing a nurse to a street cop, the job of a cop in a neighborhood beat would certainly seem more varied…
Then, when thinking of the IQ constraints with respect to advancement and leadership on the job, what are those implications? Do we not want smarter captains and chiefs of police?
How prevalent is this hiring practice among police departments? Is it considered a “best practice?”
Is it only about controlling large numbers of cops who are more likely to be compliant and adherent to a certain culture?