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Kraigmo's avatar

Are police applicants in America routinely turned away due to having "too much" intelligence?

Asked by Kraigmo (8150points) May 16th, 2010

After reading this blog article, http://northernmuckraker.blogspot.com/2008/08/too-smart-to-be-cop.html, I learned that at least one police department turns down all above-average and all below-average applicants, in regards to their IQ scores during the application process.

Do other police departments do this? How common is this?
Do other industries do this?

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11 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

There must be some badly run police departments, just as there are badly run entities of any nature. I would hesitate to generalize from such a specific.

Kraigmo's avatar

@dpworkin , that’s why I asked the question. I don’t want people’s guesses, I want them to tell me if this goes on in their police, or other police departments or not. Or other businesses.

DominicX's avatar

Wow, that’s really fucking stupid, assuming that’s true.

I have no idea how common that is, but I’d be surprised if it’s common because there doesn’t seem to be much talk about it. You’d think if it were widespread, people would be doing something about it. Also, my aunt is a police officer and she’s really smart, so they must not do it in Reno. I can ask her myself, but I sincerely doubt it. I’ve talked about the Reno police with her many times before and she never indicated that anything like that went on.

Kraigmo's avatar

@DominicX , Here’s why I think it might be common: I’ve heard of this before. And also, about 15 years ago, I applied to be an answering service operator and i had to take a weird personality test. Well I passed the test on everything (vocabulary, history, geography, current events, spelling, filing), the lady told, me, except I failed overall, because when she showed me 4 pictures of penguins and told me to choose the one I liked best, I chose the one where one penguin was wandering off from the group to investigate an iceberg instead of the other pics, all showing penguins marching in unison towards the water. So for that: no job. What kind of idiot believes in that psychological hocus pocus? Apparently quite a few business owners and directors

So I know weird crap like this happens. And police departments do tend to copy each other all the time, mostly for the better, but sometimes for the worse.

SeventhSense's avatar

I never heard of it but they may have determined that the type of person most acclimated to handle the physical and emotional stress of the job is within a certain range of intelligence. An overly thinking person might dwell on certain aspects of mortality or crime’s effects for example and be affected by the stress of the position. And perhaps a less intelligent person might not be able to follow protocol and procedure.

And not to make a correlation but in the USMC the perfect soldier is a trained efficient killer who follows orders and that’s not for everyone either.

dpworkin's avatar

In New York, police officers are subsidized and encouraged to obtain advanced degrees.

Bluefreedom's avatar

This isn’t true in all cases. I have friends in the Phoenix Police Department and they’ve told me that you have to have at least an Associates Degree to make the rank of sergeant and at least a Bachelor’s Degree to make the rank of Lieutenant in the Phoenix PD.

Zen_Again's avatar

I don’t know if it’s true, but there’s always a grain of… in the 50, 60 and 70’s they wouldn’t hire Truck Drivers with above-average I.Q.‘s as their minds would wander on the long-distance drives. I do not know whether this is true, and I apologize in advance if I’ve offended and Truck drivers. Just something I read.

john65pennington's avatar

To my knowledge, my police department has never turned down an applicant because of their IQ. actually, 65% of the officers, in my department, have either an Associates Degree or a Master Degree. its not uncommon today, for police departments throughout the nation to have the highest educated officers…...ever. refusing an applicant because of their high or low IQ, would be discrimination. the pefect combination for an excellent police officer would be a person with an Associates Degree and common sense. this is a rare find in the police world.

My department will provide half the money for an officer to attend a junior college for their Associates Degree. we are very big on education.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m not saying I agree with this line of thinking, but this issue surfaced in the media a while ago and caused a lot of discussion.

Just remember that both documentary style TV shows (Cops) as well as fictional cop shows are hitting the highlights.

I can’t remember which police officer stated that a policemans job was 90% boredom alternating with 10% sheer terror.

Considering all the routine paperwork for even the simplest encounter and a lot of the other mundane stuff required, it seems they were going on the theory that someone with a really high IQ would be bored by that. Also high IQ people are constantly frustrated by red tape and questioning procedures and authority.

But there is such a wide variety of how individuals deal with these issues, I think it’s pretty ridiculous to think in stereotypes like that.

Obviously there are a whole lot more police forces who see the value of intelligent, well educated cops and regard them as an asset.

crazyivan's avatar

From the research I did (briefly and half-heartedly) there is nothing common about this. But there are a lot of stupid hiring practices in the world. People are routinely turned away from jobs because of horse-crap like handwriting analysis, personality tests… There are even a few companies that consider astrological sign when reviewing applicants.

@Kraigmo I feel for you. Absolute nonsense.

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