Saturday, May 04, 2013

Discriminating Against Smart Cops - or Smart People in Any Job - is a Bad Idea for Society

Society benefits if we have smart people in all jobs.

The main point of The Bell Curve was not really about race.  Rather, Murray and Herrnstein were lamenting that the great IQ sorting machine was pouring our smartest people into a smaller and smaller number of occupations.  This is a loss to the rest of society.

Which is why I think it is such a bad idea for the New London, CT police department to reject a potential officer because he scored too high on an IQ test.  They argued that smart cops will get bored and leave, so it is not worth hiring and training them.

Police work, of all work, requires constant judgment calls about how to best use the great power of the state.  It requires more smarts than the average job.

Moreover, the leadership of the police department will eventually come from the new officers working their way up the chain of command.  No smart patrol officers now means no smart captains later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a real problem for over educated, under employed people like me. I've been looking for a full time library position since 2008, when we had to relocate to care for my wife's parents. I can't seem to land professional library position, in spite of graduate library degree and years of experience, but the non professional positions are closed to me (unofficially, but firmly) because I have the degree. I'm viewed as an over qualified flight risk in a paraprofessional position. However, I know for a fact that should I land a decent parapro position, I'm not going anywhere soon, simply because I haven't been able to get a job at all for years. It sucks. I don't know what my IQ is. But I'm a Presbyterian so I must be smart, right?