Man deemed too smart for police force

Does this reveal the real problem?

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September 8, 1999
By Brigitte Greenberg, Associated Press
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) —

The New London Police Department’s rejection of Robert Jordan because he scored too high on an intelligence test did not violate his rights, according to a United States District Court Judge.

The city’s rationale for the long-standing practice is that candidates who score too high could soon get bored with police work and quit after undergoing costly academy training.

The judge said there is no evidence that a high score is in any way related to job satisfaction, performance or turnover. But he said: “The question is not whether a rational basis has been shown for the policy chosen by defendants. Plaintiff may have been disqualified unwisely, but he was not denied equal protection.”

In 1996, Robert Jordan scored a 33, the equivalent of an IQ of 125. Nationally the average score for police officers, as well as office workers, bank tellers and salespeople, is 21 to 22, the equivalent of an IQ of 104.

Police in New London, population 27,000, interviewed only those candidates who scored 20 to 27.

City manager Richard Brown said the hiring process will remain the same. “There has been nothing to come across my desk that would cause me to make a change,” he said. 

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