“We were getting people with 60 hours of college credit who were reading at a third-grade level. What do you think you’ll get if you have no screening process?”

So asks Charlie Roberts, who ran the testing division for the Chicago Police Department from 1995 to 1999, upon learning that the city is simply going to give up on testing because of the threat of lawsuits. (Fran Spielman and Frank Main, “Police may scrap entrance exam”, Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 6.) The problem is exacerbated by the EEOC’s Four-Fifths Rule—of dubious constitutionality after Ricci—which holds that any selection process that results in a selection rate for any race, sex, or ethnic group less than four-fifths of the most successful group is “adverse impact” that “constitutes discrimination unless justified.” 41 CFR § 60-3.


  • Chicago’s Bravest Aren’t Its Smartest…

    Solutions to problems where a variety of tensions are at play are often hard to find. Chicago, in an excess of caution, has managed to come up with a solution that fails everyone. Rather than suffer
    the risk of a police test that could open the door t…

  • So in an age where the police are tasked with enforcing ever more complicated and arcane laws, we think it’s unfair to expect them to be able to read above the third grade level?

  • “There’s a legal limit to the snow here,
    in Camelot”
    but such a limit on snow in Chicago would be considered foolish.

    I agree with the eliminating the tests, because tests can not be valid and race-neutral at the same time, and that is what the law requires.

  • Illiterate cops? That’s about all they can hire in Jackson, Mississippi.

  • This is a dream come true for plaintiff attorneys. Coerce law-enforcement in to hiring crap-for-brains rookies thereby creating a nice stream of civil rights lawsuits. What could possibly be wrong with this bright idea?

  • This is why we should appeal outdated civil rights laws. They cause more trouble than they are worth.