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August 25, 2014

Ferguson and keeping high-IQ folks out of the U.S. police force

I was really amazed at the sheer stupidity of the hate-filled rantings of one of the Ferguson cops (something like 35 years on the force). He seemed extremely confident of his completely illogical opinions.

But maybe this is a clue why that can happen: If you're very intelligent, you literally are not allowed to be a cop! At least in certain locales in the U.S.:

Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, took the exam 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.

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

Jordan alleged his rejection from the police force was discrimination. He sued the city, saying his civil rights were violated because he was denied equal protection under the law.

But the U.S. District Court found that New London had 'shown a rational basis for the policy.' In a ruling dated Aug. 23, the 2nd Circuit agreed. The court said the policy might be unwise but was a rational way to reduce job turnover.


"Might be unwise"... I'd say so! 

Save a little money by reducing job turnover by mandating a police force of not particularly high intelligence. I.e., at best, not particularly good skills for looking at evidence and deciding what it means. And, more subtlety, but perhaps even more importantly, not particularly good self-critical abilities -- the abilities necessary to consider whether one's own upbringing-based assumptions, often including assumptions about the inferiority of other groups, might be problematic in some way.

I'm not sure how tightly police force IQ's cluster around 104, but it may be that almost half of police, those whose job description includes looking at the often-confusing data around them and deciding whether lethal force is warranted, have a below-average ability to do so (at least as that ability is determined I.Q., which I would guess is a very important component). I would think that positions entailing that kind of critically high responsibility should require job candidates with unusually high relevant abilities.

Put those dangers together, and suddenly something like 6 bullets pumped into an unarmed kid seems a bit more understandable.

I've always wondered how the U.K. strategy of having largely gunless police could make sense, considering the fact that those police have to stop criminals who do have guns. Now it doesn't seem as mysterious -- at least if the U.K. police force has a similar average IQ to the U.S.. I'm in no position to claim it's the right choice for the U.K. as a strategy, but at least it makes a little more sense.

August 25, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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