Originally posted on DRScoundrels March 13, 2011
In September of 2008, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Dayton, Ohio stating that they were discriminating against African-Americans based on police exams given (not enough blacks scored high enough to be offered positions) and for requiring entry level firefighters to have EMT-Basic training as well as Firefighter I and II certifications. These requirements applied to all people applying to become firefighters and all police applicants had to take the exams. The exams themselves were not found to be discriminating. Per the DOJ:
The United States’ complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in September 2008, alleges that Dayton’s use of an internally created written examination for screening entry-level police officer applicants, and its use of heightened minimum qualifications for entry-level firefighter applicants, i.e. requiring that applicants have EMT-Basic and Firefighter I and II certifications at the time they apply, resulted in disparate impact on African-Americans. The complaint also alleges that neither practice has been demonstrated by the city of Dayton to be job related and consistent with business necessity, in accordance with the requirements of Title VII. According to the complaint, although the civilian labor force of Dayton is approximately 37 percent African-American, only approximately nine percent of the city’s sworn police officers and less than 3 percent of its sworn firefighters are African–American. In fact, according to the complaint, the percentage of African-Americans in the city’s fire department actually decreased from 7 percent in 1984 to less than 3 percent in 2008.
I called a firefighter I know to ask how difficult EMT-Basic training and Firefighter I & II certification is to get and if they are unreasonable requirements. He told me that the EMT-Basic training is about 120 to 130 hours of training and Firefighter I & II certifications are about 240 hours of training each. He also informed me that many potential firefighters become volunteer firefighters (there are thousands of opportunities across the country) and they receive this training for free, provided by the fire department for which they are volunteering. He said these requirements are anything but unreasonable. In his specific fire department they actually require all applicants to be paramedics so requiring these basic trainings should not be an issue (better not let the DOJ know about that).
This suit was settled in February of 2009 so why is it coming up now in the news? Because there seem to be a large number of police coming of retirement age according to ABC News in Ohio:
March 11, 2011 DAYTON — The Dayton Police Department is lowering its testing standards for recruits.
It’s a move required by the U.S. Department of Justice after it says not enough African-Americans passed the exam.
Dayton is in desperate need of officers to replace dozens of retirees. The hiring process was postponed for months because the D.O.J. rejected the original scores provided by the Dayton Civil Service Board, which administers the test.
Under the previous requirements, candidates had to get a 66% on part one of the exam and a 72% on part two.
The D.O.J. approved new scoring policy only requires potential police officers to get a 58% and a 63%. That’s the equivalent of an ‘F’ and a ‘D’.
“It becomes a safety issue for the people of our community,” said Dayton Fraternal Order of Police President, Randy Beane. “It becomes a safety issue to have an incompetent officer next to you in a life and death situation.”
“The NAACP does not support individuals failing a test and then having the opportunity to be gainfully employed,” agreed Dayton NAACP President Derrick Foward.
The D.O.J. and Civil Service Board declined Dayton’s News Source’s repeat requests for interviews. The lower standards mean 258 more people passed the test. The city won’t say how many were minorities.
“If you lower the score for any group of people, you’re not getting the best qualified people for the job,” Foward said. “We need to work with the youth and make them interested in becoming law enforcement officers and firefighters,” said Beane. “Break down the barriers whether they are real or perceived, so we can move forward in this community.”
The D.O.J. has forced other police departments across the country to lower testing standards, citing once again that not enough black candidates were passing.
The Dayton Firefighter recruit exam is coming up this summer. The chief said it’s likely the passing score for that test will be lowered as well.Civil Service Board Announces Police Recruit Scores.
So the DOJ is forcing Dayton and many cities across the country to lower standards to allow more minorities to pass exams rather than letting cities hire the most qualified and best to become police officers and firefighters. What about African-Americans who DID pass the exam? What does this say to them? “You worked hard but your ‘brothers’ aren’t as smart as you so we have even the score.” Even the NAACP disagrees with hiring people who fail the exams. This does nothing for the community but bring resentment. What person doesn’t want their police and firefighters to be the best and brightest? These men and women are our cities and towns ‘first responders’. Do you really want to rely on someone to save your life if they got the job because of the color of their skin and a failing ‘passing’ grade or do you want the person to be the best the city has to offer, regardless of gender or race? After all, as taxpayers, you are the ones paying their salaries.
This is similar to the New Haven Firefighters ‘Reverse Discrimination’ case that was brought before the Supreme Court in 2009 in which the New Haven Firefighters finally won justice. A brief recall of the story:
In November and December of 2003 the New Haven Fire Department administered promotional exams for Captain and Lieutenant.
…when the New Haven FD administered the race-neutral tests in November and December of 2003, white firefighters scored so much higher than their black and brown counterparts that very few preferred minorities would have been promoted to the seven open Captain vacancies, nor to the eight open Lieutenant vacancies, if the exam scores were used.
New Haven’s city charter requires that they follow a “rule of three” which requires that each open promotional position be filled from among the top three scorers on the exams.
If the “rule of three” were strictly applied to the 2003 promotional exams, it would have resulted in all of the open Captain and Lieutenant positions being filled by the best-qualified, highest scoring candidates.
Unfortunately the best-qualified, highest scoring candidates turned out to be mostly white.
The City Fathers and Mothers of New Haven reacted quickly to this politically unacceptable turn of events. They simply refused to certify the results of their fire department’s race-neutral exams, thus effectively nullifying the results.
A reverse discrimination lawsuit was filed by the mostly white, highest-scoring firefighters who insisted that the race neutral exam scores should be used to promote them.
In essence what the DOJ is doing is saying African-Americans aren’t as smart as Caucasian Americans; therefore, they must be allowed to fail in order to pass. Lowering standards to fulfill some ridiculous Affirmative Action ‘quotas’ or Title VII standards does not help black people, other minorities or women for that matter. Millions of black people, minorities and women across the country are gainfully employed because they worked hard and are the best people for their jobs, not because of some out-dated law stating you must hire people based on race or having a vagina. The DOJ lawsuit should be an affront to all African-Americans in Dayton as well as all Americans. Rather than lowering the standards, the community should look at why some people score better than others and work on improving that for the future, not harm the community by forcing the Police and Fire Departments to hire those who are not the best applicants.