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Jordan v. The City of New London, Policing Hiring and IQ: "When all the Answers They Don't Amount to Much"

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Volume: 26 Issue: 2 Dated: 2003 Pages: 298-312
Tom Hughes
Robert H. Langworthy
Date Published
15 pages

This paper discusses the recruiting and selection process within United States law enforcement agencies, the role of intelligence in police selection practices, and the potential impact of a U.S. District Court case in Connecticut where job opportunity was denied an applicant due to a high intelligence test score.


Research suggests that some police departments across the United States are having difficulty recruiting officers to fill vacant positions despite their efforts to find and create better police officers. In the recent case of Jordan v. City of New London (2000)(Connecticut), a police applicant was denied employment due to scoring too high on the cognitive ability portion of his written application test. The importance of this case stems from its potential impact in three areas: (1) in a time of shrinking applications to police forces, legal decisions related to the selection process would appear significant; (2) the rejection of an applicant due to his /her high intelligence appears to create or reinforce negative stereotypes of police; and (3) the case involves employment law which is considered fertile ground for lawsuits against police. This paper explores this case in detail and its potential impact. Five areas related to the case are discussed: (1) research concerning the importance of intelligence in policing; (2) the constitutional provision of equal protection of the laws; (3) a review of the case of Jordan v. City of New London (2000); (4) the methodology and findings of a survey on the role of intelligence in policing; and (5) the practical and legal policy implications of the case. References