Court OKs barring "High IQ" cops - reasonable or discrimination against the intelligent?

So this is fascinating or scary depending on what you think about American politics and our police force. Apparently, we don't want our cops asking too many questions or being "too intelligent" because, you know - dumb cops are the best.

Or something. They quote "reducing job turnover" as the reason but... is this simply discrimination against a person for something they cannot help - their natural intelligence and cognitive ability?

http://abcnews.go.com/US/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-cops/story?id=95836#.Ud2ze_nVB8G

What do you think? Should cops have an "intelligence limit" or would a society that encourages bright, intelligent policemen be the better society?

Systematically rejecting a certain group of people with a certain trait without knowing if said trait actually negatively effects the individual? Sounds like discrimination to me.

The date on that story is 2000, and I found the same story reported in a newspaper from 1999.

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/09/nyregion/metro-news-briefs-connecticut-judge-rules-that-police-can-bar-high-iq-scores.html

Why bring it up now?

Of Course.

Because they want to continue being a state police. And dumb people follow orders more easily, specially when they have power like being a cop. There's a reason for all the police abuse and animal killings, I bet they didn't have an high IQ. Violence is more predominant in low IQ individuals.

The Gnome King:
So this is fascinating or scary depending on what you think about American politics and our police force. Apparently, we don't want our cops asking too many questions or being "too intelligent" because, you know - dumb cops are the best.

Or something. They quote "reducing job turnover" as the reason but... is this simply discrimination against a person for something they cannot help - their natural intelligence and cognitive ability?

http://abcnews.go.com/US/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-cops/story?id=95836#.Ud2ze_nVB8G

What do you think? Should cops have an "intelligence limit" or would a society that encourages bright, intelligent policemen be the better society?

This is not quite the logic employed.

His application was refused effectively because they thought he was overqualified, and that he would not find the work stimulating or satisfying and so he'd be likely to leave. It is reasonable to refuse someone a job if you think they are not going to be dedicated to it.

That said, basing a judgement purely on a glorified IQ test seems extraordinarily inadequate. Plenty of people might get considerable job satisfaction doing something beneath their maximum capabilities; indeed, they might actually prefer it that way.

Discrimination, when used practically, is not a dirty word.

If I were screening applications for a child's daycare centre, I'd run security checks to 'discriminate' against a certain group of people with a certain trait without knowing if a criminal record actually negatively effects their ability to care for children.

Because I can be damn sure that it's not worth the loss of time and money - and perhaps even a babby - if that employee doesn't work out. If I'm running a business, I'll just take the 'safe' applications.

For whatever reason in this case, a high IQ is considered an 'over-qualification' and New London police feel that this makes hiring intelligent people a riskier decision. Presumably this is a prejudice they've formed over time - they probably have experience with new, intelligent officers growing bored and leaving the force.

That said, I'm being entirely pedantic, because in this case it's still entirely retarded - whilst intelligence in the average street-cop might not be as crucial as, say, athleticism or courage, I thought the idea was that you spent a few years on the streets, and hopefully worked your way up to detective or managerial roles, if you were inclined to do so.

So how does this work out with captains and detectives of average intelligence? I'd rather have a smart person solve my murder, like those nice, curly haired leads on the telly, thank you very much.

TL;DR: Understandable practice, but short-sighted at best.

Well, actively preventing intelligent people from doing police work strikes me as a little... ah... batshit insane. I intend to join the police myself, once I complete (or at least make good progress on) my criminal justice degree. Luckily I live in Canada so this won't affect me personally, but how could anyone think this a good idea? Even if there were some kind of semi-plausible reason why you wouldn't want police officers of a high mental calibre, why would you take the PR risk of making all of your cops look like idiots by association?

How do you get bored of being a police officer? It seems like a joke. I hope it is. Also American Police work is not boring, the judge must have be out of touch.

Gergar12:
How do you get bored of being a police officer? It seems like a joke. I hope it is. Also American Police work is not boring, the judge must have be out of touch.

Because you're a police officer and know the thrill of doing incident reports?

OT: Generally, discrimination is only considered a bad thing when the trait is immutable (race, gender, sexual orientation in some jurisdictions) and not linked to performance or a key element of the job. High IQ more often is tied to over-qualification (i.e. applying for a job lower than your economic capacity). The main reason companies and organizations will not hire overqualfied individuals is actually quite simple: they want to keep them on the job to at least break even on the costs to train them.

You're almost never fully prepared to join a company right as you are hired, so you are essentially trained, tutored, or mentored until you fully get the ropes of what you're doing. This takes resources and manpower to do, so, as a matter of efficiency, you want to get trainees who plan on staying long term. More often than not, overqualified individuals are waiting for a job opening in an area with their particular skill set, and will accept lower level work until they get that better job. As hiring that individual, who may leave within the year, would be less efficient than the person who likely to last at least ten years, it is reasonable to discriminate against them as a matter of resources (it should be noted that many jurisdictions limit how far you can take this line of reasoning, particularly regarding pregnant women).

So, while it may seem like a boneheaded move, the reasoning is based heavily on economic reality.

The Lyre:
If I were screening applications for a child's daycare centre, I'd run security checks to 'discriminate' against a certain group of people with a certain trait without knowing if a criminal record actually negatively effects their ability to care for children.

Because I can be damn sure that it's not worth the loss of time and money - and perhaps even a babby - if that employee doesn't work out. If I'm running a business, I'll just take the 'safe' applications.

If you're referring to discriminating against men (which is actually pretty rampant in the child-care field these days), then how exactly would this practice be different from screening out individuals who are black when hiring an employee at a store? After all, black people are more statistically likely to have criminal records which negatively affect their ability to be in a store and not steal things, or assault and/or threaten people.

Lilani:

If you're referring to discriminating against men (which is actually pretty rampant in the child-care field these days), then how exactly would this practice be different from screening out individuals who are black when hiring an employee at a store? After all, black people are more statistically likely to have criminal records which negatively affect their ability to be in a store and not steal things, or assault and/or threaten people.

Uh...n-no. I wasn't referring to discriminating against men - I was referring to security checks used to screen out people with a criminal record that involves 'specific' offences.

EDIT; Why exactly do I keep dodging around the phrase sex offender?

You can't work at schools or daycare centres or anywhere around children unless you pass those security checks.

Discriminating against men would be the complete opposite of what I meant - illogical discrimination with little to no real basis for the prejudice. Just like discriminating against black people - I don't care how much more likely black men are to commit crimes, criminals are still a massive, massive minority; you're hardly increasing your risk.

My long, rambling point was that maybe New London have had former employees that were 'too smart', got bored, left, and that formed a prejudice, so now they simply don't risk it. Which, whilst short-sighted, is an understandable form of screening, or discrimination, if it's bitten them before. I don't agree with it, I don't think it's smart, but I can see why they think that way.

Saladfork:
Even if there were some kind of semi-plausible reason why you wouldn't want police officers of a high mental calibre, why would you take the PR risk of making all of your cops look like idiots by association?

It's also worth noting that there's often a separation between normal recruitment and a 'fast-tracking' for people with degrees.

In other words, they take people they think have average intelligence for the normal career path, and often put applicants with degrees on to a different path to move them up the ranks faster, either to detective or managerial positions.

This completely contradicts a question/point I had last night, but I was very tired and apparently forgot that I knew things.

Yeah, I don't really see this as being a reasonable reaction. Yes, they are likely to be moving on to something that challenges them intellectually, no patrol work isn't likely to cut it. But, amazingly enough, there is a position within the police organization that requires a great deal of analytical ability!

Just start off grooming your smarter applicants for detective work and they'll most likely be fine.

Is having only stupid people on police duty really that bright? The Police isn't only composed of the people who do patrol duty.
They also count ranked police officers and detectives among their number, people who definitely need their wits about them.

I never understood this whole rhetoric of "over-qualified" if you're too intelligent anyway. I think whoever designed this policy had no problem with being found "over-qualified".

That being said this new story more than a decade ago. Why bring it up now?

I found a more recent new story.
http://fracturedparadigm.com/2013/05/01/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-for-cops/#axzz2YkqPl6xl

In my country, being over- or underqualified is a big issue. Our secondary school system consists out of three main groups, going from scientific to practical work. After taking a test that revolves around intelligence, everyone is divided into these three groups, scientific education having the most intelligent people, then comes "inbetween" and the lowest is practical. After secondary school, practical goes to what americans call community college, the "inbetweeners" go to college and scientific goes to university. You can go to (community) college, but childeren from practical can't go up to college, or they will first have to do community college. (Hope everyone understands this, our school system is kind of complex, this was the fastest way to explain)

Sometimes somebody from scientific would rather go to college or community college, and everyone tells them that it's a waste of brain cells, because you are too intelligent to go to a school below your level. The argument why they didn't allow him is because he is intelligent, so he might get bored with the work and quit the study. Now where I come from, if you go to a school below your grade, it means you really want to do it, because you had the rare opputunity to go to a university, but chose to go below your level. If somebody of scientific here doesn't know what to after school, they always take up law or something like that, they don't go to college.

My point is, if somebody chooses to go a college where he is too overqualified for, he probably is passionate about it and won't quit the work. And I don't think police work would be very boring. Office work that just means putting the right file in the right cabinet might get boring for someone intelligent, but police work is from what I have heard, not boring at all.

Personally I believe this is discrimination against the intelligent; it is no different from them not wanting gay people or those of certain religions in their police forces, discrimination is discrimination.

I thought they would prefer more intelligent police officers in their ranks; these people would be less likely to shoot first and ask questions later, and more likely to take a more 'legal' and logical path. These people would save the U.S police force millions on ammunition not discharged because the 'suspect' resisted arrested or fled. As well as legal fees due to gung-ho under trained officers firing rounds at any signs of danger.

This however is just an opinion of something who doesn't live in the states himself; if that counts for anything.

Dumb people who attain power don't like intelligent people. Makes plenty of sense, just cynically.

This reminds me of this cop I saw guarding an area, but the problem was he was obese. And I thought to myself, how the hell did he pass the physical test? Anyway, kind of an old article, lol.

As others have said, it's about wanting obedience - people smart enough to do police work, but not quite bright enough to reliably question the system or the orders of their so-called superiors. Authority begets banality.

If it was really about reducing job turnover, then they'd have a contract which charges people for the cost of their training if they quit prematurely.

Okay, problems here.

1) How do you recruit specialist officers and other roles which require high intelligence if you are barring "intelligent" people (a definition which has real problems in this case) from the police?

The immediate problem I can see is that either you end up with a separate recruitment path, which means you end up with specialist officers who have no basic training or experience of patrol, or you recruit through the ranks and end up with specialist officers who are not particularly intelligent.

Neither seems a good idea to me. But maybe someone in the US could clarify how this works.

2) I don't particularly see how IQ relates to the likelihood of boredom. Many jobs requiring high levels of abstract reasoning are extremely tedious in reality.

Is this not basically nerd bashing? It's taking various presumed qualities of "smart people" (who in reality of course are a very diverse group and quite difficult to quantify through a single intelligence metric) and making judgements based on them without clear evidence of correlation.

3) IQ tests? Seriously?

They don't work, because the skills they test are learned skills. If you take an IQ test every day, your aggregate score is likely to improve over time because you will learn how the exercise the skills which are being tested.

Now, maybe testing that kind of reasoning ability might be useful in some situations in and of itself, but I can't believe there are people out there still using IQ tests as some generalized measurement of intelligence.

I have no problem with the idea of cops having high IQs, I also have no problem with the idea of cops having low IQs. What strikes me as most important here is actually skill and ability at policework, irrespective of what IQ someone happens to have.

evilthecat:

3) IQ tests? Seriously?

They don't work, because the skills they test are learned skills. If you take an IQ test every day, your aggregate score is likely to improve over time because you will learn how the exercise the skills which are being tested.

Now, maybe testing that kind of reasoning ability might be useful in some situations in and of itself, but I can't believe there are people out there still using IQ tests as some generalized measurement of intelligence.

I have no problem with the idea of cops having high IQs, I also have no problem with the idea of cops having low IQs. What strikes me as most important here is actually skill and ability at policework, irrespective of what IQ someone happens to have.

This hits the most important issue in my mind. The idea that a person's value, in a business sense, can be quantified is just silly in my opinion. I can understand the idea that a group could change their hiring policies/guidelines according to a theory, however the theories usually have a bit more substance to them than this one. So if intelligent people have short attention spans as their theory seems to say, then people of low intelligence must be very dedicated to their jobs! Now hang on a minute...

Considering a guy with one of the Highest IQ's in the world chose to be a bouncer at a night club, the idea that they are somehow overqualified for the position strikes me as wrong. However, I see this as more harming than beneficial considering we rely on officers to use their intelligence and judgment to ensure the proper enforcement of the law, and by barring those that may have more ability to do that would be ensuring we have less of those in that position with the ability to do so, this just comes across as terribly ignorant.

 

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