Too Smart To Be a Cop?

A blog about business and economics.
May 1 2013 1:17 PM

Too Smart To Be a Cop?

Police officers stand outside the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse after authorities arrested three men today in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings on May 1, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Via Nick Gillespie, here's a story of a guy who got rejected as a candidate to be a cop in New London, Connecticut on the grounds that his score on an IQ test was too high.

Since Gillespie writes for Reason, and since Reason is a libertarian magazine, and since the New London Police Department is a public sector entity, Gillespie seems to treat this outcome as obviously absurd and the failure of the victim's discrimination lawsuit as sad. The department's stated reason, however, seems reasonably clear and sensible—namely that they think people with such high scores will get bored with the job quickly and leave after obtaining expensive training.


My guess is, if this story were about a private firm that had been successfully sued, we would be reading Reason articles about out-of-control lawsuits and the wisdom of private-sector managers.

Be that as it may, the whole idea of using intelligence tests in employment—perhaps instead of looking at what college someone went into as a proxy for intelligence testing—is an interesting one, but it continues to be fraught with legal worries.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 17 2014 8:15 AM Ted Cruz Will Not Join a Protest of "The Death of Klinghoffer" After All
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 8:27 AM Only Science Fiction Can Save Us! What sci-fi gets wrong about income inequality.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 7:30 AM Ring Around the Rainbow
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.