Virtual Voices

Dumbing down police recruitment exams

Issues

The U.S. Department of Justice ordered the Dayton, Ohio, Police Department to lower testing standards on its recruitment exam. Why? Because not enough blacks passed the test the first time around.

So the Dayton Civil Service Board made the required changes. Up until now, potential recruits needed to score 66 percent on the first part of the exam, and 72 percent on the second in order to move on to the next phase in the process. Under the new DOJ-ordered guidelines, 58 percent and 63 percent are now the benchmarks.

Based on the new, lowered standards, 258 more people "passed" the exam. Information has not been released regarding their demographics. But according to the Dayton Daily News, the city is now allowed to proceed.

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A Dayton TV news website reports that Dayton NAACP President Derrick Foward disagrees with the mandated adjustments: "The NAACP does not support individuals failing a test and then having the opportunity to be gainfully employed. If you lower the score for any group of people, you're not getting the best qualified people for the job."

Randy Beane, president of Dayton's Fraternal Order of Police, also objected: "It becomes a safety issue for the people of our community. It becomes a safety issue to have an incompetent officer next to you in a life and death situation."

The city is in urgent need of replacing dozens of retirees in both the police and fire departments, whose forces are reported to be at all-time lows. The hiring process for the police force has been delayed for months because of the DOJ's intervention. And the city has been forced to postpone the firefighters' exam.

I doubt most residents of Dayton care what a police officer's skin color is. The Department of Justice apparently does.

Marcia Segelstein
Marcia Segelstein

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