Dumb politicians prefer dumb cops

Since we get politicians for life, with no chance of recall or petitioning for the sake of changing our charter, we are also doomed to have stupid police officers in the name of integrating our security forces.

It’s also causing Dayton Ohio to become the laughing stock of the country.

From the Dayton Daily:

The city’s Civil Service Board and the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed on a lower passing score for the police recruit exam after it was rejected because not enough blacks passed the exam.

The city lowered both written exams a combined 15 points that resulted in 258 more people passing the exam, according to a statement released Thursday by Civil Service officials. The agreement allows the city to immediately resume its plans to hire police and firefighters.

The original passing scores determined by Civil Service required candidates to answer 57 of 86 (66 percent) questions correctly on one portion and 73 of 102 (72 percent) on the other. The lowered benchmark requires candidates to answer 50 of 86 (58 percent) questions correctly and 64 of 102 (63 percent) of questions on the other.

A total of 748 people passed the exam under the new benchmarks. It is unclear the demographics of those who passed.

via City agrees to lower test scores for police exam.

We’ve been struggling with how to hire recruits that reflect our racial makeup for years. It has been a centerpiece of Dean Lovelace’s tenure on the City Commission. Lovelace has cost the city millions in fines from the Department of Justice and legal fees, yet, now the solution involves accepting candidates who score 58% correct- a solid F grade by any standard.

Maybe Dayton should start testing candidates instead of police recruits and at least require a C grade, between Lovelace and Matt Joseph you have two commissioners who haven’t accomplished anything of note in their multiple terms on the commission. Every piece of legislation that Lovelace has been credited for has been a huge failure – with the state stepping in on his predatory lending legislation, the living wage laws are toothless, his no vote on equal rights legislation – need I go on?

The simple solution is to allow the Dayton police and fire departments to hire from other departments- hiring trained, experienced officers.

Cleveland, Detroit, Newark NJ have all had mass layoffs of experience, diverse police officers over the last 3 years- giving us a much faster, more cost-efficient way to fill our vacancies and get a diverse department.

Unfortunately- our dumb politicians are unable to think outside of the very simple box.

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16 Responses

  1. truddick March 15, 2011 / 9:58 am
    David, are you an expert in testing?  No?  Then why are your lips moving?
    58% is not a solid F on all tests.  I have taught college courses where (first time teaching the course) I seriously overestimated the students’ preparation.  And that’s not unusual nowadays, I think you’d agree.  For fairness, I needed to adjust the grading scale for the first several tests–and in some cases, a grade lower than 40% became a passing grade.  After that, adjustments to my teaching methods (had to start each chapter at elementary-school level and pick up the pace faster) meant no further grade-scale adjustments.
    It’s the case that a test that has not been validated by having each of its items pre-tested is not as reliable, and in that case the tester ought to be open to adjusting the scores.  (Note: this is not “curving” the scores; that would involve imposing a bell curve on the scores so that an equal percentage of the scores at the top and bottom would receive A or F, etc.).
    The big professional test firms–the College Board, for example (author of the SAT, GRE, etc.) all have the resources to do such pre-testing.
    The problem here isn’t that the police or fire forces might get unqualified people.  Rather, it’s that our elected officials don’t know enough about testing to get it done right.  The same problem was epidemic in Ohio’s state tests for K-12 student achievement as they’ve morphed through their many names and designs–some of those tests were utterly invalid yet we continued to use them as a high-stakes hurdle for student graduation and teacher job security.
    I’ve got nothing against a good test, but assuming that a new test given to a relatively small population will yield bullet-proof results is a little like assuming that nothing could possibly go wrong with Japan’s nuclear generators.  It’s a large case of wishful thinking that ignores the hard truths about the situation.

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  2. David Esrati March 15, 2011 / 10:07 am

    @truddick- the standard for passing isn’t being moved because of problems with the test- it’s because of supposed racial bias. There were plenty of people who scored high- just not enough blacks and hispanics.

    The reality is- we could skip the test and hire from other departments- but the union has said no.

    It’s time to get real- we need cops- with experience now. Drop it- and hire people from outside.

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  3. djw March 15, 2011 / 10:15 am
    I’m not at all an expert on such matters, but: I wonder what evidence, if any, exists that there’s a strong, meaningful correlation between high scores on this text and the quality of the police officers. More specifically, what’s the evidence that the just barely good enough scores provide evidence that that person will be a better police officer than the not quite good enough scores? I the area that I do know about–college admissions–the entrance tests widely used as a significant piece of the component, the SAT and ACT, have historically and consistently shown know meaningful predictive value in success in college, except at the extreme tails. Historically (I have some memory of being told this has improved in recent years) SAT and ACT scores have shown correlation with racial identity, when holding constant for other factors (family income, grades, etc).
    Exams are attractive to people who are looking for a fair way to sort a large number of applicants in a simple, straightforward way. But their convenience for hiring is not evidence of their validity. This decision by the city certainly looks bad from a PR perspective, but I wouldn’t assume it’s a bad choice until I see specific evidence about the predictive value of this test, or very similar ones, for predicting future success for police officers. Given the track record of standardized exams for predicting success in various endeavors, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this exam was never really shown to accomplish what it was supposed to. I certainly wouldn’t characterize those who score below a certain arbitrary threshold on it as “stupid”.

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  4. djw March 15, 2011 / 10:19 am
    Absolutely agreed on hiring from outside, though.

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  5. Bill March 15, 2011 / 10:46 am
    Interesting……
    We haven’t “just begun” to be the laughing stock of the country!
    Now we have a Dayton Police Department, which requires at least a grade a grade of “F” or better to qualify.
    And an illustrious Prosecutors office, guided by Matt Heck, which boasts a 95% prosecution rate.
    Lets continue to support our legal experts in Dayton. It is one of the very few businesses left.
    Who knows, you could be the next person selected to to participate in the court system!
    Just where I want to live…..
     
    Wake up people!
     

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  6. Brad March 15, 2011 / 11:13 am
    Dean Lovelace is a complete joke.

    The Dayton public safety hiring processes have become a complete joke.

    This clusterfuck has brought us even more negative national attention.  As if being on like 30 Forbes lists for sucking as a City isn’t enough.

    It should be noted however, that Derrick Foward, President of the local chapter of the NAACP, has publicly stated that this is an insult to the black community and that he doesn’t support it.

    I believe a local SCLC representative said something similar in the DDN.

    Good for them.  They both clearly realize that while there may be a problem with public safety diversity, this solution is absolutely absurd.

    I applaud them for not being afraid to say that in the media.

    Maybe Dean should listen to them, instead of intensely focusing on moving his crusade forward at all costs.

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  7. Gary March 15, 2011 / 11:20 am
    @ Bill, good morning, I’m awake, had some coffee, read this post … And my comment is: Hey, maybe now Dayton will get some Street Smart people on the beats who can swindle out crooks and do some great detective work–unless they decide to go on the Take, and take the dope themselves for their use!
    I’m sure this is going on, too!
    The Oakwood Captain of Police was once a meek sort of dude when I knew him in school–but now he’s a captain!
    So it’s going to be interesting to see what happens–but the Hispanic recruits better have immigration papers or I will start a law suit!

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  8. Mr K March 15, 2011 / 1:20 pm
    I would not say that cops that score that low are stupid. They certainly are grossly substandard, inferior, and should not be considered as equal to the ones that did. We already dumb down the physical requirements on the police department for women so they can pass and we can call them “equal” and pay them the same. Diversity in the world of democrats is to make us all believe that unqualified people should be considered equal and hiring them makes things better. The reality is that it simply lowers the quality and standards of respectable organizations and benefits only the losers that were hired because they got to check “woman” or “black” on their application.
    I feel bad for the Dayton residents who pay taxes and live in a rough crime area that instead of getting a good cop will get one who is not capable and only got hired because they are black, female, or both. We have a police force that now thinks diversity is more important than “to protect and serve”, Dayton sucks. The fact that the Dayton police and their union aren’t putting their foot down on this shows how much respect they deserve, none.

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  9. Officer Friendly March 15, 2011 / 3:16 pm
    David said “The reality is- we could skip the test and hire from other departments- but the union has said no”
     
    Sorry David, the reality is the hiring process is governed through the city charter and administered by Civil Service.  The FOP has absolutely no say in hiring.  The Police Dept. can object to a candidate after the oral review board but then civil service rules on the objection. Once they rule, that’s final.  There are many cops walking the beat that were originally “turned down” by the department during the hiring process.

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  10. David Esrati March 15, 2011 / 3:37 pm

    @Officer Friendly- OK- sorry, I thought it was the FOP protesting lateral transfers. I know that the FOP wouldn’t let Julian Hill be Chief- he had to be a director- no gun, no badge.

    I am willing to stand corrected- but, the answer is to ditch the Civil Service BS.

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  11. D March 15, 2011 / 3:54 pm
    In addition to a police department that is forced to hire people that are not qualified we have a public school system that does the same thing. I am aware of at least three cases of functionally illiterate teachers working for Dayton Public Schools. I personally worked with a woman who could not use a calculator to add several two-digit numbers together that taught in DPS for at least 5 years previously. There was a school board member and former teacher who served within the last 10 years on the Board of Education that could not write a complete sentence. I have a copy of one of her hand written board of elections related documents that proves this. If you would like a copy I can email you one David.

    The are no screening tests given to our teachers to verify they can read, write, or do basic arithmetic. They simply go to a low-grade college as an affirmative action student and are passed along in their education classes by their weak liberal professors in an education program that does not require them to be able to write in complete sentences to pass. Ohio State football players are held to higher standards in the classroom than public school teachers are. Nothing will change with the labor unions and democrat party in charge. The state of affairs is disgusting in the country, state, and especially this city.

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  12. David Esrati March 16, 2011 / 8:29 am

    @D- I’d be happy to see the copy of the “hand written board of elections documents” my email is david at electesrati dot com

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  13. Gary March 16, 2011 / 9:41 am
    Bet I can guess know why David wants those documents!

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  14. Gary March 28, 2011 / 10:14 pm
    Brad-
    The article you shared was pretty vague IMO!  It stated the Department of Justice still saw flaws in Dayton’s police and firefighters’ tests (scores?) but still promoted it!  I must have missed something!
    I say to Dayton to simply just hire a bunch of Blacks and Mexicans, and women now w/o testing them–let it be–it cannot get any worse than it is!  The article says it’s up to the interview, ok, so what!  A job is a job nowadays–and there aren’t many of them!  Like David E. once said, a more important thing for our City honchos to do is repave all of Dayton’s roads–they are the paramount problem I see now!
    I am a White man, and I have several Black friends, and we all know there are differences in our fashions, personalities, likes and dislikes–but all people are human!
    The biggest problem I see in society is that only 10% of us can read and write correctly–the rest of us just want to work!  The next thing will be handicapable folks wanting police and firefighter jobs–it never ends does it?

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  15. Gary March 28, 2011 / 10:20 pm
    One more thing, I think the riddance of Unionized workers is a good thing–they are overpaid and underworked, IMO!

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