Dayton Police Dept lowering test standards to recruit more blacks

There are times when making a hiring decision on the basis of skin color is perfectly appropriate. If I’m making a movie about the life of Charles Drew, I can restrict my auditioning to black actors.

In this case, even sven has the right concept: policing can require more than neutral test taking. Relating to the communities being policed is an important goal.

I’m not sure I agree the DOJ is the best arbiter of the issue, but as a general principle, making race a factor in these hiring decisions is appropriate.

Having officers of the same ethnicity as the population as they serve can certainly be a valid consideration in hiring. It shouldn’t be the primary concern, or the one that overwhelms all others. (Consider also the black applicant who gets passed over for a job where he scores higher on the test, because the population he’d be serving is Latino, white, or Asian. Is that okay, too?)

What we call “race” here in the States is by no means a fixed quality. Who counts as black for the purposes of hiring? Black Africans and West Indians who have no cultural or ethnic connection to black Americans? Biracial Americans who were raised entirely by the white sides of their families? As the country inexorably becomes more mixed, sorting out who’s who for the purposes of government benefits will become increasingly difficult.

We’re already at the point where the primary beneficiaries of Ivy League affirmative action programs are foreigners of African ancestry, upper class Africans and West Indians, and biracial American kids with white college educated mothers. Out of all the people who count as black, these are the ones who get the best grades and the highest test scores.

It’s really not something the DOJ should involve itself in. They’ve got bigger issues to face, obviously. And as Magiver pointed out, all the black applicants aren’t happy with the prospect of getting in based on lower standards.

But the DoJ does have to concern itself with one thing- running effective police forces. There may be all sorts of philosophy behind the nature of race in America, but when you get on the ground, none of that matters. What matters is what allows you to monitor, prevent, and punish crime.

I’m not sure lowering the test requirements was the best idea, but I think it’s useful to see that this probably is not some kind of “politically correct” way to coddle black people, but rather a practical concern with a direct effect on public safety.

I don’t thing if a black applicant scores in the upper percentile for a test in a community of predominately pick-a-non-black-demographic that it would be appropriate to discriminate against his skin color. You’re trying to rationalize racial discrimination.

This should been seen by the black community as an insult, but I’m not holding my breath.

The dumbing down of America continues…

If your life was in danger, who would you prefer to have come to your rescue? A: the cop who passed the standard test to become a cop. B: the cop who failed the standard test to become a cop, resulting in the test being made easier, who then re-applied with the new and easier test and was accepted?

Actually, I’d be surprised if you could find very many black people who would approve of something like this.


They’re not lowering the standards as an inducement to get people to come take the test. They’re lowering the standards because many of the people [blacks] are scoring significantly lower when they do.

Its not a problem of quantity. Its one of quality. How is that cloaked racism?

Dead wrong. But I’ll await your constitutional cite for the authority of the federal government to manage local law enforcement.

I’ll preview mine for why it has no such authority at all:

By the way, am I the only one to note the (admirable but surprising) fact that the Dayton NAACP is speaking out against this, on grounds of possibly-diminished public safety?

I guess that makes it okay, then.

He is correct in wanting the hiring standards to be the same regardless of race. Hiring, or admitting into school, based on qualifications should be the ONLY!!! basis. To do otherwise, destroys all credibility and reputation of all blacks, regardless of whatever score they got.

Like it or not, if there are lower standards to hire Blacks into the DAyton police department, then forever more, everyone in the community will assume that the/all black Dayton police officers are stupid, less smart than whites.

This is unfortunate for the blacks who had high test scores, because they will be lumped into the “dumb pool”, since it will be public knowledge and everyone will know that the black cops got lower scores.

Affirmative action did the same thing. Nobody wants to hire a black lawyer or a black surgeon, etc, who got accepted into school with lower grades and lower test scores. Hiring lower scoring blacks, and hiring because of affirmative action, results in the public never knowing if the person was hired because of his skin color.

These racist policies really really hurt the otherwise smart, intelligent, high scoring, qualified blacks because we cant distinguish if any particular black is in the job because he is qualified, or because of skin color, and if we cant tell the difference, it is best to skip all of them - why take a chance?

There is** group A**, and there is group B. Everyone in group A got high scores. Half of group B got low scores. Without knowing any individual score, from which group would you hire someone?

Test scores have very little to do with real world performance. They aren’t even particularly good metrics for school performance.

Compounding this is the fact that these kinds of tests are generally written by non-whites, with non-white cultural references. Strip those out, or add questions with black cultural references and lets see how everyone does.

You want those white officers to know about black culture don’t you? I mean that’s the disproportionate source of crime isn’t it? Shouldn’t they understand the culture they’ll be policing?

I don’t think you said what you think you said.

If you meant “whites” where you wrote “non whites” – cite for “are generally written,” and cite for “with [white?] cultural references?” “Black culture/language” is, in any event, not some completely separate world, it’s just (if by black you mean ghetto black) just an untidier more feral version of the general culture. It’s not like some police exam is going to be asking questions about regattas or single malt scotch or summering in Provence.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. Linda Gottfredson & Frank Schmidt, amongst others, have documented this ‘testing dilemma’.

I don’t get the possibly diminished public safety angle at all.
Can the people (that are actually doing the hiring) actually interview people, discern the ethics, and fitness to do the job (I am assuming like firemen, the police force has an academy program) and make a decision like everyone else in the world?
Is this testing done after they go through academy, or this the test to get into the academy program?

The Gottfredson paper I linked mentions this:

I wouldn’t care, because I don’t think those test are an adequate measure of policing ability.

That does not matter. What you say is irrelevant, regardless of merit. Bottom line, the public will always know, and always remember, that the Dayton black cops are the ones who were not smart enough, the Dayton black cops are the ones who do not meet the minimum qualifications.

Also, what you say is untrue. Test scores ARE!!! the best most unbiased most reliable measurement that the world has, which is why every school does testing, every employer and every government agency relies on testing, and everyone checks the grades of applicants. Test scores are is the best measurement and the best predictor of performance in nearly every country in the world.


The problem that I have always had with these preferences is that they are both overinclusive and underinclusive. You give a boost to well-off minority children (e.g. Tiger Woods’ kids and the like) who are not disadvantaged and have a better lot in life than the average person, but the poor white kid from Appalachia who pulled himself up by his boot straps is treated like he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Other posters bring up excellent points: If this was the Butte, MT police department, would it be fair to discriminate against black applicants because we want the police force to represent the racial make up of the community?

It is also insulting and it stamps every black officer with a badge (no pun intended) of inferiority. When someone gets pulled over by a black cop driving through Dayton, he may be the smartest guy with the highest test score on the force, but the motorist will be left wondering if he was one of the idiots that needed lower standards to get a job.