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Minority cops: Minneapolis P.D. psych screening test is biased

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The psychological test the Minneapolis Police Department uses to screen applicants is biased against minorities, according to some police officers. They claim the psychologists who run the screening program may be harder on minority candidates than whites.

In response, the department has agreed to review its screening process.

Unlike background checks and physical fitness tests, the Minneapolis P.D. outsources psychological testing, a process critics claim is not transparent.

Psychologists judge candidates based on 10 criteria including social competence, ability to work as part of a team, tolerance for stress and assertiveness. The psychologists then make a recommendation for each individual.

Lt. Bob Kroll, who heads the police union, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the process operated under a “big cloak of secrecy.” He urged the department to review the process and determine where candidates were failing.

Despite recent progress, the MPD still does not reflect the diversity of the Minneapolis community. While the city is 18% black, only 8% of police officers are. Hispanics and Asians face similar gaps.

The officers alleging bias say a process that disproportionately screens out minorities puts the department at a recruiting disadvantage compared with other police forces in the region.

MPD officials note that police behavior is under far closer scrutiny now than in the past and the department is looking for the best way to screen out potential bad apples.

In 2014, the department returned 42 recruits to the eligible rolls after they alleged bias in the hiring process.

Note: Employers must always check screening procedures for bias. If the process appears to disproportionately affect minorities, the employer must search for a less discriminatory way to accomplish the same goal.

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