NEW YORK (Jan. 30)
An expert in recruitment of Jews for the city’s police department declared today, in rebuttal to a U.S. District Court ruling that the police examination last June discriminated against Blacks and Hispanics, that it was impossible to devise a test which would meet Civil Service standards and still assure that a given proportion of test-takers from minority groups would pass.
Louis Weiser, a retired police officer who is president of the Council of Jewish Organizations in Civil Service, made that comment at a press conference convened at the America-Israel Friendship House here by a coalition representing eight ethnic police and civil service organizations.
The press conference was called to express the coalition’s concern over the Jan. 11 ruling by Federal Judge Robert Carter that the tests were discriminatory and ordering a 50 percent quota for Black and Hispanic appointees from the list of candidates who passed not only the written examination last June but also physical, medical and psychological tests.
Carter’s ruling left the city with the option of either accepting the Judge’s quota order or of suspending new appointments, pending the outcome of further legal action. The city chose to appeal, suspending new appointments as of this month.
Weiser had said previously that 18 to 20 successful Jewish candidates would have been “bumped” if the city had accepted Carter’s quota appointment order. He also said that a lengthy delay in resumption of appointments because of the pending legal battle would almost certainly lead to some of the Jewish candidates deciding to look for jobs elsewhere.
The legal battle began when the Guardians Association, representing Black police officers, and the Hispanic Society of Police Officers filed suit in federal court in Manhattan, charging that the June examination was biased against minority group members who were at a disadvantage because of the allegedly inferior education they had received in city public schools.
The city, in a brief submitted on Jan. 14 to the federal Court of Appeals for the Second District, asked the Appeals Court to stay Carter’s preliminary injunction. The Appeals Court refused, but did promise to speed up a hearing an the city’s appeal and set a date for that hearing for Feb. 5.
Weiser said a friend of the courts brief from the coalition had been accepted by the Appeals Court. The brief was submitted on behalf of the eight organizations which sponsored the press conference today. They are the Columbia Association, the Emerald Society, the Pulaski Association, the Shomrim Society and the Eastern Orthodox St. Paul Society — all made up of police officers — and the Council of Jewish Organizations in Civil Service, the National Conference of Shomrim Societies, and the Grand Council of Steuben Societies in Civil Service.
Weiser also pointed out, at the press conference, that the police department had taken “extraordinary measures” in an effort to assure that the June test was not only job-related but also non-discriminatory and culturally unbiased. He said the examination was based on an eighth grade reading level, as certified by education expert though the test materials which every recruit must pass at the Police Academy are at college level standards.
He said that among the “extraordinary measures” were job studies and study of performance records to determine essential qualities for effective performance by police officers. He added that the recruitment and training process for police last year was praised by both the Guardians Association and the Hispanic Society as for back as last April. The police department reported that 36,747 persons took the test and 13,749 passed it.
Weiser said proof the test’s fairness was the fact that according to figures submitted by the Guardians Association and the Hispanic Society, more than 2000 minority candidates passed the test, representing 15.5 percent of the total number of passing candidates.