Police hiring process as flawed as our charter

Before we go into any discussion about the hiring processes in place in the City of Dayton- one must ask how  a problem can last this long, with no resolution in sight. This has been an issue for twenty years (I had a position on the “consent decree” in my first literature when I ran for mayor against Clay Dixon).

The simple answer- is that our charter has a major failing, that it’s almost set in stone, covers things that have no business being in the charter, is impossible for the public to change, and the politicians who can, don’t because they might risk their precious seats for life. Even though parts of the charter- like the residency rule have been struck down as unconstitutional after years of expensive squabbling- it remains in the charter, ignored.

Without a regular scheduled charter review, the document is nothing but dead wood, helping kill off our city. It’s why I’m in the process of trying to get the parts about petitions thrown out.

But- on to the police issue- the latest chapter in the never-ending saga:

The city of Dayton plans to discard the test scores of the 748 people who passed its police recruit exam in November and will instead hire officers based only on a subjective oral interview — a change meant to improve the city’s ability to hire more minorities.

The announcement comes after the U.S. Department of Justice forced the city to lower its passing score to allow for more minorities into the hiring pool as part of a federal discrimination lawsuit the city settled in 2009.

Those scores are no longer relevant and all candidates are now on equal footing. The oral exam will consist of five situation-based questions asked by an expert panel and last 30 minutes per candidate.

Only those who passed the written exams are allowed to take the oral exam….

Dayton Police Union President Randy Beane called the change “outrageous.” He said it circumvents the city’s rule of one hiring practice where candidates must be hired one at a time based on a testing score from best to worst.

“There’s not going to be any objectiveness in the process,” he said. “We are checking with our attorney to see if this is legal.”…

The city began notifying the 748 who passed the exam by mail this week. Those moving on will have to pass a preliminary background check before participating in the oral interview.

The panel will then score the applicant’s answers and the process will be completed in early June.
Those who pass the oral exam must then pass a polygraph test and psychological and physical exams before being ranked on a hiring list.

Moore disagreed that the hiring change was meant to circumvent the city’s hiring rules mandated in its charter. But when asked if this creates more wiggle room to subjectively hire candidates, Moore said, “that might very well be the case. We are reacting to the consent decree which states that we are not to engage in a selection process that has a disparate impact on a certain race,” he said.

via Dayton throws out written police exam scores, will rely on oral interviews only.

As an employer, there is nothing harder than hiring the right people. They can make or break an organization. Considering these are people who will be armed, around criminals most of their working hours, putting their lives on the line makes the process even more difficult. It is not an easy job to find and hire the right people- especially since our stupid city refuses to hire experienced officers who have proven themselves in this line of work.

With layoffs in major metropolitan departments across the country- we could solve this problem quickly, by hiring already trained, experienced officers from Cleveland, Detroit MI, Trenton NJ etc- and probably increase our minority representation quickly. It would also help break the grip of the good old boy frat house atmosphere enjoyed by our local department. This isn’t to say our overworked officers aren’t professional- it’s just been such a private club for so long, we’ve forgotten how to play with others (sort of like our local political parties).

This new twist in hiring- the interview, will the candidates be behind a curtain? Will their voices be digitally altered so as to not be able to tell the hill-jacks from the Negroes? This whole concept of rule of one, race, test scores has so little to do with the actual proven ability to do the job- we may as well just have a lottery at this point. Do the oral  interviews of every possible candidate- rate them pass/fail- then take the passing people- put them in a lottery bucket and go.

That’s the only way we’ll be able to defend ourselves from the coming lawsuits when the process is again taken into court.

Of course, the quick, easy and right solution is to hire experienced professionals from other departments to get our racial quota and our strength up quickly. Then we can move on to the real issues- like why we still have Dean Lovelace on the commission who has caused 20 years of lawsuits without a solution in mind.

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