Saturday, March 12

Feds order city to lower qualifying scores to be a cop...because...

In every good-size U.S. city, people who want to be hired as police have to take a test, and you have to make at least some minimum score to qualify. It's a concept used in lots of fields--firemen, civil service, medical-school applicants and others.

Dayton, Ohio, used this long-established process to find the best candidates for its police force. But now the federal Department of Injustice has ordered the city to raise the minimum score required, because it said it was vitally important that cops be really smart and sharp.

Oh, wait...I mis-read that: The DoJ actually ordered the city to lower the cutoff score for being hired as a cop.

Reason: The DoJ says not enough African-Americans passed the exam.

Now, it's widely acknowledged that having a police force in which the racial mix is roughly proportional to the population mix in a city has a social benefit. Among other things, it defeats the charge that minorities can't trust the cops because for decades they were virtually all white.

But I'm skeptical about the "solution" ordered by the U.S. gubmint: Lowering the minimum qualifying standards to become a cop seems to me to be race-pandering, pure and simple.

For about 20 years back in the '70's the "Equal Opportunity Employment Commission" of the federal government tried to achieve "equal outcomes" in hiring by establishing racial quotas: If you didn't have the same percentage of employees as the local population, they'd sue your ass. Because they had a relatively infinite amount of attorneys--paid for by the taxpayer, of course--only the largest companies had the resources to win. So everyone went along.

Then the courts said racial quotas were unconstitutional. So the EEOC switched to allowing a workforce that differed from the racial makeup of the local population, provided the company or local government entity (police, fire, etc) could show that it was taking overt action to "correct the problem."

One obvious way to "correct" the disparity was by establishing a two-tier cutoff score, in which minorities could be hired or accepted for admission despite having lower qualifying scores than whites or asians. In 1978 the Supreme Court declared this unconstitutional (University of California v. Bakke).

So now it would seem that the federal government--under the direction of a black attorney-general, hired by a black president--is trying to take one more swing at the "problem," by simply lowering cutoff scores for all applicants. Presumably local cities would then have enough "qualified" minority candidates to make the composition of their local force match the local community, and cities would never have to explain why a minority candidate was hired while a white candidate who scored higher on the exam wasn't selected.

After all, both candidates had at least the minimum established score to be hired.

I can't put my finger on it, but something about this policy seems...worrisome.


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