I recently re-watched the movie “Breach”, about Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent who committed espionage for the Soviet Union and Russia.
Hanssen had been a Chicago police officer before joining the FBI, and there is a brief interview in the bonus materials with a former supervisor who said he knew something was ‘off’ about Hanssen because he was “too smart”.
This reminded me of the case where the police department of New London, Connecticut refused to hire a candidate because he scored too high on the department’s own intelligence test. The decision was ultimately upheld by a federal appeals court.
One of the reasons given by the department for the policy was that it supposedly reduced job turnover. Presumably, someone with a high IQ would have more opportunities for higher-paying or otherwise more rewarding work.
I’ve never worked in law enforcement, but this seems like an odd notion. If a prospective cop meets all the other job requirements, intelligence would seem to make them as likely to advance in their law enforcement career, as to leave it for a more lucrative one.
I know that job candidates are sometimes rejected for being overqualified. But this usually applies to having more education and experience than needed for low-level or manual jobs, as opposed to being too smart.
I’d especially appreciate hearing opinions from present and former LEOs on the board about this hiring policy.
I wasn’t sure whether to post this in Great Debates or IMHO. Mods, feel free to move as you see fit.