The process is time-consuming, expensive, and manpower-intensive, and that is just before an applicant is offered a job.
What most people don’t realize is that from the first day that a recruit reports for work, an average of a year will pass before they are ready to patrol the streets alone. For a year, each new recruit will draw pay and benefits but will provide no direct police services to their community. Not only that, other officers will be taken from directly serving the public to train and prepare those new officers. This year-long process is absolutely necessary and very expensive.
Hiring an applicant likely to fail is potentially dangerous and an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars.
During their first year, officers are commonly put through a state-mandated training academy, which they must pass to receive state certification as police officers. In addition, they must pass training courses within their own agencies, the most important of which is a field training course wherein they ride with a variety of seasoned officers specially trained to educate and evaluate new recruits.
Some are too dangerous or inept with firearms. Some are temperamentally unsuitable. Some simply can’t write competent reports. Some can’t multi-task, and can’t drive, be aware of their surroundings, and simultaneously speak on the radio. Only after successfully passing all of these experiences is an officer allowed to work on their own. Only then are citizens getting their money’s worth.
What’s more, to put one officer on the street 24/7/365, approximately four officers must be hired. That’s three officers for three eight-hour shifts, and at least one to cover for vacation, illness, court, mandatory training, and other issues that will routinely remove any officer from their duties. With all of this in mind, and considering the very real dangers of an undermanned police force, unnecessarily delaying the process for months for any reason is reckless and unconscionable.
It is difficult to believe that Mr. Holder understands any of these issues.
Most people do not, and most attorneys have no special claim to knowledge of these issues. Even if Mr. Holder is given the benefit of the doubt for having the sole, admittedly admirable motive of eliminating invidious, intentional racial discrimination, the actions of the DOJ in this case are at best destructive.
There is, however, good reason to think that his motives are not so benign and noble.
It’s clear that the city of Dayton secured a new test, no doubt at considerable expense, to eliminate any potential disparate impact. With passing scores of 66% and 72%, it’s also clear that Dayton was trying to placate the DOJ — few agencies would be comfortable with such low passing scores. Remember, these tests are initial screening instruments only. One need not be a rocket scientist to score at the 90th percentile or higher, and anyone scoring below 80% need not expect a call from the Nobel Prize Committee anytime this century. (Mr. Obama and Mr. Gore excepted, of course).
Demanding passing scores of only 58% and 63% guarantees that many people plainly unsuitable for the job, people who would be eliminated at very little cost at the first step, will be accepted for further testing. That testing, for candidates obviously not qualified and capable, will incur substantial additional costs at a time when cities and states have no money to spare. It will also — if the DOJ will allow it — subject people to the cruelty of being dropped after weeks and months when shortcomings that were initially, painfully obvious are too dangerous to be overlooked any further.
Surely Mr. Holder understands this?
But perhaps the worst consequence of Mr. Holder’s dumbing-down of the process is that the mere lowering of test scores sends a very powerful message: the financial resources of the federal government will be used to ensure that a quota of favored candidates — numbers and races to be determined solely by the DOJ — will not only be hired, but will be put on the street in blue suits with badges and guns and the power to use them.
Which agency will fail to understand that people who would not normally pass any of the checks and tests that follow placement on an eligibility list will pass those checks and tests, particularly if they are members of DOJ-favored candidate groups? Which agency will fail to understand that members of one particular group — white males — not only may be but must be eliminated in favor of those unquestionably less qualified and capable? Surely Mr. Holder understands this as well? Why then would Mr. Holder want to place unqualified, dangerous people of any gender or ethnicity in police work? As Mr. Obama is fond of saying, “make no mistake” that unqualified police officers are inevitably dangerous to themselves, their fellow officers, and to the public.
Again, allowing the benefit of the doubt, Holder may be single-mindedly determined to eliminate discrimination, even unintentional, incidental discrimination. But such noble desires must always be weighed against their foreseeable and potential unintended negative consequences. In this case, the foreseeable and potential consequences are clear, and to any rational person, should stay their hand in enforcing such damaging policies on the citizens of Dayton and the rest of America. No American police force can fail to understand what will happen to them should their hiring practices come to Mr. Holder’s attention. Again, giving him the benefit of the doubt, surely he would not intend such blatant, thuggish, Chicago-style intimidation?
Another possibility is that Mr. Holder and his like-minded managers at the DOJ cannot possibly imagine unintended future consequences. This state of affairs would mean that the leadership and upper management of the Obama/Holder Department of Justice, despite having the benefit of substantial higher education, are of a kind with those scoring far below 70% on an entry level police exam. In essence, they’re too stupid to know what they don’t know and are stubbornly proud of it.
The third possibility is that Mr. Holder and his managers are Progressive social and racial true believers, intent on imposing their views of social justice on society regardless of the Constitution, the law, common sense, common decency, and the costs or the deadly consequences of their policies. I’ll leave it to the reader to choose between the possibilities, but this possibility would seem to be the likely choice of a man determined to take care of “my people.” Who else would think, let alone say, such a thing?
It’s common knowledge that the first “post-racial president” has so often injected race into the national discourse. It’s also a shame that Mr. Holder, Mr. Obama’s choice as attorney general, America’s chief law enforcement official, seems to know and care so little about actual police officers and the communities they serve. Greater is the shame that he seems unaware that all of the American people are the people of the U.S. attorney general.