Home / Badge Abuse / US Court Says it’s Okay for Police Departments to Refuse to Hire Someone who is Too Smart

US Court Says it’s Okay for Police Departments to Refuse to Hire Someone who is Too Smart

Ever wonder why cops yell “quit resisting” as they beat a person who’s not resisting? Or why they shoot people who pose no threat? Maybe the answer is right in front of us.

(Photo Norbert Schiller/Mint Press)
(Photo Norbert Schiller/Mint Press)

The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test is a popular group intelligence test used to assess the aptitude of prospective employees for learning and problem-solving in a range of occupations. Throughout both the U.S. and Canada, many police forces require candidates to take this test as one of the qualifications prior to being hired.

The standard range of scores applied for police officers is a score between 20 and 27. According to ABC News, The average score nationally for police officers is 21 to 22, the equivalent of an IQ of 104, or just a little above average. A perfect score on the Wonderlic is a 50.

On March 16, 1996 Robert Jordan from Connecticut, and 500 others underwent a written screening process which included the Wonderlic Test, conducted by the Law Enforcement Council of  Southeastern Connecticut, Inc. (“LEC”), a coalition of fourteen cities and towns, in order to apply for a position as a police officer.

Several months later Jordan learned that the city of New London started interviewing candidates. After not hearing from them, Jordan inquired as to why he was passed over.

Jordan eventually learned from assistant city manager Keith Harrigan that he would not be interviewed because he “didn’t fit the profile.”

Thinking it was obviously age discrimination because he was 46 at the time, Jordan filed an administrative complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

The response that he received was completely out of left field. The city responded that it removed Jordan from consideration because he scored a 33 on the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, and that to prevent frequent job turnover caused by hiring overqualified applicants the city only interviewed candidates who scored between 20 and 27.

The city of New London claims that “People within certain ranges achieve a degree of job satisfaction and are likely to be happy and therefore stay on the job.” They apparently believed that Jordan was too smart to be happy being a cop.

This reasoning did not seem logical to Jordon so he filed a civil rights action in the District Court for the District of Connecticut  alleging that the city and Harrigan denied him equal protection in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and Article 4, Section 20, of the Connecticut Constitution.

On August 29, 1999 the court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment citing “no suspect classification and that defendants had ‘shown . . . a rational basis’ for the policy.”

Jordan, thinking that this must be just a fluke ruling, then appealed and brought his case to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

In the interim Jordan conducted his own research which showed that high scores do not actually correlate with experiencing more job dissatisfaction. The court ruled that despite the evidence to the contrary of New London’s claim, they are still justified in refusing applicants with high IQs “because it matters not whether the city’s decision was correct so long as it was rational.”

Because all applicants were denied based on high test scores, there was no discrimination taking place.

This decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to condone the ability of police departments to discriminate against smart people is one of the most profoundly ridiculous moves ever made. But it also tends to explain the state of police departments today.

It takes a special kind of person to go to work every day and harass, kidnap, and kill people for victimless crimes. The act of unquestioningly carrying out orders to ruin the lives of good people whose only “crime” was to do with their own body as they wish, would eventually have to raise the eyebrow of a person with a higher level of intelligence…or so we’d like to think.

Knowing that this ability to discriminate against intelligence in police departments exists tends to put ‘Police State USA’ in perspective. In the past decade we’ve seen heavily militarized actions against non-violent protesters. We’ve even seen school districts accepting MRAPs! And we’ve watched from the sidelines as Mayberry transformed to Martial Law.

A smart person does not create a domestic standing army and call it freedom.

A smart person does not deliberately tear gas journalists. A smart person does not point a rifle an an innocent person and tell them that they are going to kill him. A smart person does not severely beat a person with down syndrome because he sees a bulge in his pants, which is actually a colostomy bag. A smart person does not continuously shoot at an unarmed man who posed zero threat and whose arms are in the air.

If more people knew this information you could rest assured that they would try and reform their police departments. No one wants their police officers to be unintelligent, right?

Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore helped to expose what happened to Jordan as well as the ridiculous notion of discriminating based on intelligence levels, on his show “The Awful Truth.” The 8 minute segment, while hilarious, paints an ominous picture of adhering to such tactics.

Why on Earth would anyone ever think that this is a good idea?

  • canucanoe2

    “Because all applicants were denied based on high test scores, there was no discrimination taking place.”
    That’s like saying, “Because all applicants were denied based on dark skin, there was no discrimination.”

  • Dominus24k

    I scored a 44. The interviewer said “You coming here is like a rocket scientist joining the infintary.”

    • OG Mudbone

      The fuck is infintary?

      • Rob

        infantry, i assume is what he meant

    • Keebler time

      What an ironic comment…..

      • Khaleesisdoormat

        It’s a typo. He meant “4.4”.


    Low IQ job skills, blackjacks and hollow point bullets, and license to kill. They all think they are James Bond, when they really are Cheetah with a gun.