Would it surprise you to know I’m not surprised?

A man wanted to be a cop and was apparently told he was too smart to get in.

Robert Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, took an exam to join the New London police, in Connecticut, 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.

Mr Jordan launched a federal lawsuit against the city, but lost.

There is a logic behind this. My cousin learned of something similar years ago while in the Canadian Armed Forces. They tend to want people of average or lower than average intelligence because smarter soldiers might stop and try to analyze the situation before reacting rather than simply following their orders and their training to the letter. And smarter recruits might be inclined to challenge higher-ups more often and could potentially be a source of dissension in the rank and file.

About the boredom – again, they have a point. Boredom can lead to loss of focus in a situation that requires full attention. But, they are wrong to deny him a job on the possibility he’ll get bored. They can’t see the future and predict what day that will happen or anything. They’ve got nothing except an assumption based on his smarts, and maybe past experience with other smart officers who did lose interest. But again, they could never prove he’d be one of them, so denying him based on that is ridiculous.

What it’s really about is the second part, the cost. If they put time and money into a person who doesn’t stick around, they’ve wasted their time and money.

Walmart approaches hiring the same way. I’ve never been in a job with a higher turnover rate than Walmart has. They invite everyone insane interested into a conference room and give them the spiel, their vests, their badges, and then a couple hours over a couple weeks to play with the CBLs, Computer Based Learning, that all associates have to complete. But, all they learn in a CBL is how to remember the right answer long enough to pass the little quiz at the end of each lesson. No retention required. No skill test five months down the road to see if they still remember the proper way to lift or hold a knife.

And they get very little in the way of providing good knowledgeable customer service. And so customers come in looking for someone who knows the difference between this humidifier and that one and the poor kid who took the call is probably the one originally hired for Pets and is currently covering four areas because others didn’t turn up for work or don’t exist, and there’s no way he can do anything to help beyond sounding out the words on the boxes. The customer is frustrated, the kid is frustrated, and he’ll take his frustration out on everyone else he meets that day because he’s only been there three weeks and he’s already fed up with the shit that goes on. He likely won’t even turn in his vest before he leaves for good.

Do I ever wish that had been me, but I needed the money more than I needed the sanity, I guess.

Well anyway, you see the point, hopefully. They pay a pittance and they don’t train and they don’t provide much in the way of benefits because they know most people will get bored and fed up and will quit long before they’d be qualified for a raise anyway. Cop training costs a lot more than a Walmart vest.

They want people who will be committed to staying on, either because they really like the job, or they really need the job, or they’re just the kind of people who still think commitment and loyalty to a workplace matters. Spending time on training that doesn’t get used – or worse, benefits some other job elsewhere instead – doesn’t feel like a quality use of time.

I’m not saying they’re right. I’m just saying I can see their side of it.

About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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3 Responses to Would it surprise you to know I’m not surprised?

  1. Pingback: SF cop-training tear gas sickens people, dogs – San Francisco Chronicle | Rottweiler dogs

  2. Pingback: SF cop-training tear gas sickens people, dogs – San Francisco Chronicle | Cow Dogs

  3. 1minionsopinion says:

    I don’t know what dogs and tear gas have to do with this story, but whatever.

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