August 27, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 35

Dr. Wes

You want to fix troubled police departments? That’s easy. Just hire a smarty-pants or two

By Dr. Wes Browning

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Had enough news from Ferguson yet? Let this item from ABC News brighten your outlook on the whole discussion: “Court OKs Barring High IQs for Cops.”

It occurred in New London, Conn., where a would-be police-person was denied admission to the force for scoring too high on an entrance exam. They say the score indicated an IQ of 133.

Here’s the theory: Training to be a police officer takes time and money. So they test for smartness. If you’re not smart enough, they don’t want to try to train you because they figure the training just won’t take. Get out of here, Barney Fife, this ain’t Mayberry.

But, if you’re too smart, the theory is you will find police training too easy-peasy, and you’ll figure out by the end of it all that being a police officer was as boring to a genius like you as teaching rocks to grow old.

So New London PD wouldn’t hire this one smarty-pants, head-too-big dweeb, and dweeb sued on the grounds of — please, note — discrimination, lost his or her lawsuit in the city and has now lost an appeal of that decision with the appeals people themselves, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

I’ll linger awhile on that note. The position of the applicant as explained to a reporter was, “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.”

In other words, this monumental genius with the stratospheric IQ wants us to believe that the entire premise that intelligence should play any role in the selection of police officers is unfair and discriminatory, and if we did it right, we would let anyone be a police officer regardless of mental ability or function, whether high or low, whether sideways or crooked.

Our police forces should look like the people they serve. If the general population is 3 percent catatonic, then the police force should make it a goal to reflect that. Not by establishing a quota, perhaps. No one is saying that. But there are measures far short of a quota that can be taken. Recruiters can reach out to the catatonic community. No testing of catatonia or of attributes linked to catatonia would be allowed in evaluating applicants. Interviewers would be forbidden to ask about it.

Likewise for smart people. Let’s be clear, people don’t become smart by saying to themselves, tomorrow I’m going to be smart. You just are. Frankly, it’s a curse. You’re the first to figure out there’s no pony in the manure, while all your dumb buddies are still sure it’s there and have proved it to themselves by the application of karmic philosophy. Who wants to go through life not believing in the pony? That’s just raw.

So, given that we can’t help it that we’re smart, any more than we can control where we were born or whether we have an extra eye on our chin, that shouldn’t have anything to do with whether we get the police job. And if, because we, as a smarty, bore easily, we quit the job as soon as the training is ended, so what? How dare they discriminate against the easily bored?

In fact, the NLPD has clearly conceded that they do discriminate against the easily bored, and the solution is clear.

It is not to refuse to hire the easily bored, but to learn to accommodate them. It is all of our jobs, mine as well as theirs, to learn to make the work that we expect others to do to be intellectually challenging, if that’s what the smarty-smart-offs need.

And how hard can that be? Look at Ferguson. Heck, look at Seattle. You can’t tell me there aren’t opportunities for smart people in those police departments, to unravel the intricate messes that have been made of them. Let smart people in and set them to fixing what’s wrong.



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