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Oakland Councilwoman Wants Police to Lower Written Test Standard for Recruits to Achieve More Officer Diversity

October 19, 2015  | 

Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks wants the Oakland Police Department to lower written exam requirements in order to open the door to greater diversity among officers.Brooks is specifically pushing for more black officers in the Oakland PD.

Brooks chairs the Public Safety Committee and says she wants “a Police Department that’s reflective of the community they serve.” Brooks points out that the city’s black population is 28 percent but only 20 percent of officers are black. She wants to see this change.

Brooks established the “Department of Race and Equality” and succeeded in securing “$617,000 in the city budget” that will be used “to hold other city departments accountable for racial disparities in their services.” And after learning that black candidates for the police department “fail the written exam more often than they fail the physical abilities test” Brooks asked “if the department could consider eliminating the exam and allow applicants to take a course in its place.”

The Oakland PD written exam is already “scored on a curve” and counts any score of 45 or above as passing. The Oakland PD said holding 45 as the lowest passing score provides assurances that applicants “are somewhat above minimally qualified and thus more prepared to succeed in the academy, field training and as a police officer.”

Brooks asked the Oakland PD if they might consider lowering the passing score to 42, reports.

State commission consultant Alex Blaylock responded to the push for lower written exam requirements by warning that the Oakland PD will risk hiring officers who cannot fill out an incident report or understand the very laws they are supposed to enforce if they lower standards further.

Comments (16)

Displaying 1 - 16 of 16

EODK9Trainer @ 10/19/2015 3:28 PM

God I am so glad I was able to retire from LE when I did.

Gray Buckley @ 10/19/2015 4:03 PM

In 1960 the Baltimore (MD) PD reduced its education requirements for new patrol officers from 8th grade to 4th grade. PD Baltimore could tell you how that worked out.

UncleMike @ 10/19/2015 4:24 PM

Atta girl.....
If your chosen people don't have the minimum mental capacity to pass a simple test you just lower the necessary test score to accommodate those too ignorant to be in Law Enforcement in the first place.
Idiocracy is not a movie.
It's a real portrayal of the future of America if people like her get their way.

Gary @ 10/19/2015 5:06 PM

A department I worked for lowered their hiring requirements.
Many minority officers who were hired before the lowering of standards resented it. The felt like other officers thought he couldn't make it without 'dumbing down' the testing and would not realize they passed the same requirements as others (prior to change).
I know... "If you can read and write... or know someone who can".
Bad idea.

Jack Betz @ 10/19/2015 7:23 PM

Why not just get rid of all the standards. Start hiring convicted felons.

Stew2 @ 10/19/2015 8:39 PM

Why doesn't the councilwoman encourage black candidates to be smart enough to pass the written test. Instead of the department lowering their standards, the black applicants should raise theirs. Its pretty sad when a political figure basically acknowledges that most of the people she represents (blacks) aren't smart enough to pass a written test. If that's the case she should be doing something to get them to stay in school and get a decent education. Police departments don't need officers that can't read or write....this is just sad, and pretty ridiculous for her to try to get standards lowered.

Rede2hike @ 10/19/2015 9:39 PM

Boy that is telling. Hire a bunch of illiterate thugs who can't read, write or pass a basic minimum test standard.
This country is screwed, just look at California.

Rede2hike @ 10/19/2015 9:41 PM

After visiting Oakland last year, the police officers should just take the weekend off and see what happens.

OK @ 10/20/2015 5:14 AM

History just keeps repeating itself.

Superman717 @ 10/20/2015 5:55 AM

Apparently there is not a minimum standards test to become a councilwoman.

Jim Arles @ 10/20/2015 7:05 AM

I would bet the majority of law enforcement written tests are already very basic and look at some of the recruits that pass. Not all cops need to be English majors, but please make sure they can write a decent report and are able to communicate in a [somewhat] articulate manner. By the description of the current Oakland PD testing process, lowering the standards any further will require passing out construction paper and Crayons.

Fed Cop 1 @ 10/20/2015 7:05 AM

Next she'll be asking OPD to drop the requirement of the criminal background checks as well.
I remember taking a written statement from a victim (a recent HS grad) where she stated "Da bitch done callt (the ghetto tense of "called") me a ho (ghetto for "whore") an I hit her". So if OPD allows lower academic scores, are they going to have reports where the officers "axe" questions, and write reports using ghetto?

Tom Ret @ 10/20/2015 8:04 AM

Is Brooks black? This ought to be real encouraging for the current officers who weren't hired based sorely on their ethnic percentage to the population (sarcasm off)! Brooks thinks the department should reflect the population they serve. If that is the case, then along with the dumb and dumber, Oakland will need to hire their fair share of drug addicts, criminals and illegals. Obviously, Brooks did not have to pass a common sense test to get her position.

Gymrat @ 10/20/2015 9:11 AM

wow, That may work in other city departments but when you strap a gun and badge on for work you better have the right people. Can't fix stupid, but in this case just lower the stupid bar and give whoever a gun and badge. wow that makes sense. I'm sure when something happens do to the lower standards she will be the first person railing on law enforcement.

Bob peterson @ 10/20/2015 5:30 PM

I lived in a city where they lowered the police entrance scores so they could hire minorities. I had a break-in at my house so they sent a young black officer to take a report. He could not write the report. I filled it out for him. He was nice but he wasn't too bright. Hire intelligent minorities.

tom @ 10/21/2015 8:30 AM

Bad idea ! At a time when the country and most people want to hold police officers to a higher standard, why would we lower the standard ?

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