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  • February 2008
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Police Reject Candidate for Being Too Intelligent

This is not the first time I’ve seen a story like this, it is apparently typical hiring policy for police in many areas. Let’s face it, they want a dumbed-down police force that’s just smart enough to follow orders. We just can’t have our police thinking too much or questioning procedure!

This story says that the average I.Q. for a cop is 104, if that is accurate it means there are thousands of police with I.Q.’s in the 80-100 range. Is it any surprise then that incidents of police brutality and abuses upon citizens (as well as the Constitution) are now so frequent?

From Ananova:

A US man has been rejected in his bid to become a police officer for scoring too high on an intelligence test.

Robert Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, took an exam to join the New London police, in Connecticut, in 1996 and scored 33 points, the equivalent of an IQ of 125.

But New London police interviewed only candidates who scored 20 to 27, on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training.

Mr Jordan launched a federal lawsuit against the city, but lost.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court’s decision that the city did not discriminate against Mr Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test.

He said: “This kind of puts an official face on discrimination in America against people of a certain class. I maintain you have no more control over your basic intelligence than your eye color or your gender or anything else.”

He said he does not plan to take any further legal action and has worked as a prison guard since he took the test.

The average score nationally for police officers is 21 to 22, the equivalent of an IQ of 104, or just a little above average.

New Today: Queen Michelle Obama Has 26 Taxpayer-Funded Assistants

35 Responses

  1. Well DUH!
    The standards for police officers have just been reduced to those for soldiers, with the same results.
    If an official wishes to commit assault or battery, we need to show them there will be an appropriate response. If they draw on us, we should draw on them.

  2. We here at Daily Liberty Research support freedom of speech and therefore never censor relevant comments. Just to be clear, however, as to our stance on this issue: We advocate the peaceful resolution of problems and disputes through appropriate channels whenever possible. We do not condone violence against anyone as the solution to problems except as a last resort — and even then only when it is required for self-defense in a life and death situation.

    Disclaimers aside, I do agree with everything you said Bill except for your last sentence. Non-violence is always the best answer — aside from those rare situations that fall into the criteria outlined in my preceding paragraph (which, giving you the benefit of the doubt, was probably the kind of situation you were alluding to in your post. If that is the case then ignore my criticism.)

    Maybe I’m naive, but I believe there are enough good people left to make a fight within the bounds of the system still worth the effort. This way, as peaceful, liberty-loving citizens we ensure that we stay on the moral high ground — even when those in uniform and government do not.

    If we know our rights and can document the violations of them (if/when they occur) there are appropriate, legal, non-violent methods of recourse that can be taken after the fact when cooler heads will prevail and justice can be served.

    • Day Lib,

      Land of the free, home of the brave.

      What do you think “bravery” is for? You need to be brave enough to roll over and die when oppressive government dictators unleash goon cops on you?


      To be free, you MUST also have the will to stand up for yourself against anyone (yes anyone at all) that seeks to take your freedom away.

      • And you also must be intelligent enough to know that just because someone’s telling you that your rights are being taken away, that doesn’t mean they actually are. You’re working up this fantastic scenario in your head and saying you’re going to rebel when it happens, but in all likelihood, it never will.

  3. Quote – The standards for police officers have just been reduced to those for soldiers, with the same results.

    We (soldiers) have to obey orders given by those appointed over us, or face severe (sometimes leathal) consequences.

    Those who crave power generally get it.

  4. The reason cops today are idiots is because of this…


    Guess which administration had this done? (hint: it wasn’t Bush)

  5. Makes sense: they would not want to hire another Serpico!

  6. I think this article would benefit from some context as to what sort of people the IQ test numbers actually describe. One is left thinking that anyone with an IQ between 80-100 is unqualified for police work.

    What is the reasoning behind this policy, anyway? It is probably based on years of data. Why blow our money on people who will eventually quit?

    I think he should have been hired. I don’t think there should be a limit to how high you score on an intelligence test. The applicant has my sympathy, and my support. Perhaps he is just more passionate about being a police officer than other applicants that achieve similar scores.

    This could be an opportunity for the LPD to improve its hiring process.

  7. This is actually true of many police forces. The running joke around our house is that both my spouse and I are way too smart (both over 130 IQ) to be accepted into the police force of the large metropolitan city we live in. Our observations from many interactions with the local LEOs have confirmed this over and over.

  8. What is it with Connecticut and idiotic firefighter and police officer policies? http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-new_haven-firefighters-0630.artjun30,0,4824581.story

  9. From your article: “…there are thousands of police with I.Q.’s in the 80-100 range. Is it any surprise then that incidents of police brutality and abuses upon citizens (as well as the Constitution) are now so frequent?”

    Really? So, intelligent people are less likely to abuse power.

    This entire article is pretty flawed in genera. Firstly, intelligence has NOTHING to do with police brutality. Second, there is a very sound rationale for not hiring intelligent people to do boring, repetitive work – studies show they won’t stay, so why pay to train them?

    I had to take an IQ test to get into my current role as a consultant, and my previous employer wouldn’t hire anyone under 135. Is it discrminatory to reject candidates with average IQ? The reasoning is that they simply don’t have the brainpower to do the job, which is generally correct.

    • No, people of all intelligence levels are prone to the abuse of power.

      The point being made is that less intelligent people are not as likely to think critically and independently or question orders that may be inappropriate. Going along with inappropriate orders/peer pressure very well could (and does) result in police brutality.

      As far as your consultant example goes–there is a huge difference between screening for candidates who are qualified to do a job, and a hiring policy that discriminates against a specified group of qualified applicants. Obviously it is not discrimination for a hospital looking to hire a brain surgeon to turn down a teenager whose resume consists entirely of fry cook and drive-thru experience. That teenager simply is not qualified. However, turning down a perfectly qualified person who does have the brain power and qualifications to do a job just because they posses one “undesirable” characteristic (be it skin color, eye color, appearance, intelligence, etc) is discrimination–which is the case in the news article referenced above.

      Also, I’m sure there are aspects of police work that are boring and repetitive–most jobs are like that to some degree. But being a police officer hardly qualifies as predominantly boring and repetitive work. Understanding and applying laws, regulations and the Constitution/Bill of Rights across a myriad of circumstances and often stressful situations takes intelligence (to do well). As a society we should strive to fill the ranks of our police forces with the most responsible, honest, incorruptible and intelligent people available.

  10. Quote – We (soldiers) have to obey orders given by those appointed over us, or face severe (sometimes lethal) consequences.

    As a 15yr Marine, I can state with certainty that we only have to obey ‘lawful’ orders or face the consequences. An order telling you to use lethal force, if it follows all escalation of force procedures and falls within a category covering lethal force (defense of property involving natl security, etc) is a lawful order. If an order is given that is not covered by any of the above, or if common sense dictates (Capt wants you to shoot the guy who just stole a CD from the PX), it is not a lawful order and therefore does not have to be obeyed. Zero consequences.
    I digress; I think the guy should’ve been allowed to pursue his goals of becoming a law enforcement officer regardless of his high IQ. Might have made a great Detective.

  11. Read the short story ‘Harrison Bergeron’ by Kurt Vonnegut…

    Click to access harrison.pdf

  12. With an IQ of 186, I wrote software that finds missing children and adults. Once a week or so, I call personal contacts in the appropriate agencies and clear cases for them. My personal best so far was a 55-year old cold case. The police are always amazed, and the individual officers are invariably grateful.

    Thus far (seven years), I have been unable to get a single police administrator to set an appointment to even hear what I have to say. Too bad, since I would have offered to GIVE them the software. How ya gonna get those budget billions next year if a crippled geek can do your job better than you, eh?

  13. By definition, the average IQ for the population is 100 with a standard deviation of 15. An average IQ of 104 for the police force would mean a slightly higher than average intelligence than the normal population.

    • Actually, if the average IQ of the police force is 104, that means there are some police with IQ’s higher than 104, and many with IQ’s lower than 104 (as stated in the original post). If the average IQ of the police force is 104, then a large percentage of those police are likely less intelligent than the “normal population”.

      • An equally true statement is that if the average IQ of the normal population is 100, that means there are some people with IQ’s higher than 100, and many with IQ’s lower than 100. If the average IQ of the police force is 104, then a larger percentage of of the “normal population” are less intelligent than the police force.

        Reader Kris is correct.

      • Yes Michael, I wasn’t disagreeing with Kris, but clarifying the point of this article.

        Obviously if the average I.Q. for the entire population is 100, then an average nation-wide police force I.Q. of 104 is slightly above average. But that doesn’t mean all police nation-wide have an I.Q. of 104 or higher.

        The listed acceptable test score range of 20-27 was only in reference to that particular police department and for that particular hiring/interview session. If the nation-wide police I.Q. average is only 104, and some police are hired that have I.Q.’s of up to approximately 119 (a test score of 27) — or possibly even higher scores at other departments — then there are either a few very dumb cops that are pulling down the national I.Q. average, or a significant percentage of police (nationally) have an I.Q. of less than 104.

        I admit it is possible that the average I.Q. score of 104 could be due to a majority of police scoring right around 100 (which in and of itself would be very unimpressive and even troubling). But when the higher I.Q. scores of up to 119 (or higher) are factored in, then to produce an average national I.Q. score of 104 it is likely that some — and possibly many — police are actually getting I.Q. scores that are below or significantly below average.

        Estimates put the total number of police officers in the nation at over 800,000. If even one half of one percent of these officers has a below average I.Q., then that means there are thousands of them out there.

  14. “…the city did not discriminate against Mr Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test.”

    So can I institute a whites-only hiring policy if I apply the same standards of skin color to everyone who applies? It sounds like the court would have to support that, given this precedent.

  15. There must be something wrong with the facts in the original story. An IQ 0f less than 75 is considered mentally retarded. someone with a 20-27 IQ wouldn’t even be able to feed themselves properly.

    • I certainly hope that the hiring policy described in the original story is not as widespread as it seems to be. But the facts are accurate–that’s precisely why it is so disturbing.

      • It’s “so disturbing” because you don’t like cops.

        This is only one police department. I can tell you that many police officers are told when they have their psychological screening, that they may become bored with the job because they have above average IQs. But they still get hired and many of them love the job. But there are so many different avenues to take in a career of law enforcement, that most smart people can find a way to contribute in a significant and gratifying way.

        But, the world is full of haters, especially since it’s so easy to make derogatory remarks from a keyboard.

      • Douglas, is fortruthandfreedom a “hater” because he doesn’t like an apparent hiring policy meant to deliberately dumb down a police force? The point made here by fortruthandfreedom is that there seems to be a policy, specifically in Connecticut, to intentionally hire unintelligent police officers and to not even give the intelligent candidates an interview for the job. Would you defend that policy? Does questioning that policy mean that the person who questions it doesn’t “like cops”? That’s ridiculous.

        Why wouldn’t you want our public servants, our “defenders of the peace” to be as intelligent as possible? We need police who not only know how to use force, but also know how to think and respect the laws they’re commissioned to uphold. Isn’t a police officer at various times called upon to make split second decisions about the use of force after assessing a situation? I’d say intelligence a key job requirement, or at the very least an advantageous quality to have in an officer. To suggest otherwise is irresponsible and even belittles those who perform the job honorably and intelligently. Note that in the article the candidate who was rejected ended up taking a job as a prison guard, which is hardly a step up in required intelligence I would think.

    • It’s not clear what the standard deviation is, but a score of 20 isn’t equivalent to a WAIS IQ of 20; it looks like it might be equivalent to an IQ of, say, 101 or 102.

      • Yep, a score of 20 on the test is roughly equivalent to an I.Q. of 100-102, and a score of 27 on the test would indicate an I.Q. of around 119.

        Keep in mind that the minimum allowable test score of 20 was only in reference to the particular police department mentioned in the story above. A score of 20 was not stated to be the national minimum score.

  16. A couple of cops I know used to try to get me to join the force – every time they did, I’d tell them I tried to join – but that I kept passing the IQ test.

  17. i have a question? is it discriminatory to not hire highly intelligent people. like in this case, is it discriminatory to not hire Robert Jordan because he scored high in the cognitive ablity test?

  18. I’m simply in awww… Are you kidding me.. As a society we should strive to fill the ranks of our police forces with the most responsible, honest, incorruptible and intelligent people available.

  19. If the dude was such a smartypants and really wanted the job he would of just acted dumber than what he is ,people do it all the time. On the other end I see average people in the professional world , puff up like a puffer fish sometimes trick people into believing there is something there that ain’t. “If you can see the strings it’s not really magic now is it”. However not everyone see’s or looks fore the “strings” and go’s with whatever. Its likely the 2nd circuit court knows this idea ,and made the call accordingly. If I where to publicly act my full cogent potential, I would be the loneliest man on earth n locked up as i’m in the top 99.95 percentile (psychologist verified) and have endured much that has tested my resolve to wits end. I believe this is why people up here seem so dam crazy to the common populous. They make us that way! , think of planet of the apes! in the nicest way of course. Back to becoming a police officer no thanks, theirs too many strings in the way to believe the magic.

  20. Koko has a tested IQ of between 70 and 95 on a human scale,Koko is a gorilla. This is a surprisingly short span of only a few points from the average human of about 95-110. hmmm glad I’m not average,lol:)+<

  21. […] do the police really discriminate against those with high-IQ?http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11http://nyletterpress.wordpress.c…   Justin Freeman, Three years of LE experience on a lar… 1 vote by Anon UserNot […]

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