Can Someone Be Too Smart To Be A Cop?

Ever called a police officer “stupid” or questioned whether he or she was actually using their brain? If so, you wouldn’t be alone, and you might not even be wrong.
By @katierucke |
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    (Photo Norbert Schiller/Mint Press)

    It turns out that those who have cursed at a police officer for apparently not using his or her brain or said an officer was being “stupid” may not be as far off the mark as the American public might hope.

    Although it’s not widely known, federal courts have ruled since 2000 that police departments can legally opt to not hire someone simply because he or she scores too high on an intelligence test. The millenium ruling followed a lawsuit filed in 1999 by Connecticut resident Robert Jordan, who was told by the New London Police Department that they only interview candidates who score 20 to 27 points on an intelligence test.

    Jordan, a 48-year-old college graduate with a degree in literature, had scored 33 points when he took the Wonderlic Personnel Test in 1996, giving him an IQ of around 125. His score was well above the 21 to 22 points that officers score on average, which reflects a slightly above-average IQ of around 104. (Interestingly, the Wonderlic test recommends that insurance salespeople score at least 22 points and that police officers score at least 21 — meaning that at least according to the test, it requires more intelligence to sell insurance than to solve crimes.)

    The test, which is used by other employers, not just law enforcement, poses questions such as: “In the set of words below, what word is different from the others? A. Beef. B. Mackerel. C. Veal. D. Bacon E. Lamb.”

    Based on his Wonderlic test score, Jordan was qualified to become a lawyer, but he was too smart to be considered for a position with the New London Police Department.

    Jordan filed a lawsuit and took the police department to court, arguing that he was discriminated against.

    ”I was eliminated on the basis of my intellectual makeup,” he said. ”It’s the same as discrimination on the basis of gender or religion or race,” in that an individual doesn’t necessarily have control of how smart he or she is.

    However, the courts sided with the lower police department. In its ruling, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that the city did not discriminate against Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test. In other words, no one who was deemed “too smart” for the job after taking the intelligence test was hired.

    Jordan also sued the city of New London, Connecticut, saying that his civil rights had been violated because he was denied equal protection under the law. But again, the courts ruled against Jordan, saying that the city of New London had “shown a rational basis for the policy,” which was that those who scored above a certain level would likely grow tired of police work and leave shortly after receiving “costly” training.

    Although the court said the policy was unwise, it found that the city had a rational theory to try and reduce the rate of turnover in the police department. Jordan decided to not pursue the case further, and has reportedly been working as a prison guard.

    Given that the public’s trust in law enforcement has been shaken in recent years, departments across the nation are trying to repair that important relationship with the public by ending controversial policies such as ticket quotas, detention of suspected illegal immigrants on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and use of stop-and-frisk, since law enforcement officials are realizing that the work of police officers can’t really be done without the help of the public.


    Agent Smart

    As Jordan’s story finds its way back into the media, some argue that the problem the United States has had in recent years with the increased militarization of civilian police forces is related to the fact that the only people eligible to become police officers are those who are of “just above average” intelligence — especially since law enforcement agencies tend to promote from within. This means that those who eventually become detectives and solve crimes are the same people who were initially allowed to become police officers at least partly because they did not score too high on an intelligence test.

    Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore helped expose what happened to Jordan on his show “The Awful Truth,” which ran from 1999 to 2000.

    On the program, Moore sent  orrespondent Jay Martel to New London to speak with Richard Brown, New London’s city manager who rejected Jordan’s application. Martel asked Brown why he wouldn’t allow Jordan to work as a police officer even though Jordan scored well on the test. Brown responded, saying that according to the test, people within certain score ranges were likely to be happy and stay on the job, and he believed Jordan would grow bored and want to leave.

    Martel asked Brown if he ever thought the public would want law enforcement to be intelligent, which is when Brown asked Martel to leave his office. When Martel refused and continued asking Brown questions, Brown left his office and threatened to call security.

    During the episode, Martel also went around the city asking police officers questions from the IQ test to gauge the intelligence of law enforcement.

    When he asked police officers the question about which word is not like the others, one officer responded, “I can’t say that I know, sir.” Police officers were also unable to answer questions such as the distance to the city of Hartford, Connecticut, and how long it would take to travel 150 miles to Hartford in a car traveling 55 miles per hour.

    In fact, the only people able to correctly answer Martel’s questions were security guards. One security guard even corrected Martel by informing the correspondent that Hartford was not 150 miles away, it was only 30 miles away.

    Martel also spoke to some known criminals in the town, who said they are comforted knowing that they are smarter than the cops because that gives them about a two-week head start in trying to get away with crimes. When Martel asked an officer about concerns that criminals were testing higher on intelligence tests than officers, one officer responded that it wasn’t a concern for him because it was his “job to enforce crime.”

    Around the world and even within the U.S., police are not required to possess remarkable intelligence. Police reform advocates argue that if the standards were raised regarding what it takes to become a police officer and if the pay was better, it would weed out the so-called “dumbasses” who cause so many lawsuits and are a liability to their departments.

    Many of these reform advocates also point to the apparent correlation that’s been found between police officers’ salaries and the corruption among law enforcement officials, arguing that the higher the salary, the less likely law enforcement officials are to engage in corruption.
    Mexico is often given as an example of this, as the border city of Tamaulipas, where officers earn the least amount of money, is also among the country’s most corrupt cities. A similar relationship between pay and the rate of corruption has also been seen in Africa, which is why many believe one step in reforming law enforcement in the U.S. and reducing the police state, would be to start recruiting people who are well-educated, intelligent and financially secure.

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    • Jason Smith

      …it is highly unlikely that they didn’t admit him as a police candidate, because of his intelligence…it is far more likely, they didn’t admit him, because he was willing to question authority…the rest is cover…obfuscation…the usual, to keep those in power, where they are…

    • My ex was a police officer who scored the
      equivalent of 130 on the Wonderlic (the cutoff for police is 104). She almost didn’t get hired because
      of it, but since she was both black and a woman, thereby filling two
      quotas, they were willing to let her be a police officer despite scoring
      so high. It’s one of those humorous unintended consequences of conflicting policies.

    • mastedon2

      Are we sure these tests were not “dumbed down” so that another certain “quota” could be reached,,, in terms of exactly whom they hire and the percentages demanded by well-meaning liberals?

    • Zander

      I think it also largely has to do with the fact that lower intelligence often correlates with increased subservience. They want ’em smart enough to understand what’s going on, but not smart enough to question the status quo. Kind of like the military, except they do it through brainwashing so it doesn’t have an intelligence requirement.

    • Nicholas DeShane

      Wow based on IQ I am too smart to be a cop, also I didn’t realize you could rationalize discrimination. If this is the case then why in past cases was it ruled discrimination to not hire women of a certain age for certain jobs because they were highly likily in that era to quit half way through their carrers and take up to a ten year break to raise children. Nothing wrong with that just saying if statistics are allowed to be a justification for discrimination then that legalizes a bunch of discrimination. Its just the government saying once again our rules don’t apply to us.

      • Zander

        Same here. By a lot. I’m at 140. I had even considered being a cop when I was younger. Good thing I never pursued it.

        • Geoffrey Russell

          Nice. When did you have your IQ tested officially?

    • Lester Wilson

      Police departments want officers who are smart enough to follow orders, but not so smart that they begin to question them, or question the arbitrariness of law enforcement tactics (i.e., speed traps, road blocks, etc… etc…).

      • Zander

        Oh lol. I just posted the same thing pretty much xD

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    • DoubleTapped

      If brains were black powder, cops couldn’t blow their noses with a flamethrower.

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    • henrybowman

      “In its ruling, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that the city did not discriminate against Shabazz because the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test. In other words, no one who was deemed “too dark” for the job after taking the exposure meter test was hired.”

      This simple word substitution suggests that these judges are almost certainly qualified to be cops, but almost certainly not judges.

      • Dennis

        This is being dishonest, since there is an actual rational reason to turn away smarter individuals, whereas there wouldn’t be for skin-color. Although, that reason is still stupid.

        • henrybowman

          Two or three generations back, the people who would have turned away applicats for their skin color professed that their reasons were entirely rational — that fact that you today would not agree with them is entirely beside the point. As for me, I believe the job requirement that “we don’t want police officers to be TOO intelligent” is not just irrational, but violates equal opportunity.

          • Dennis

            They had no scientific or logical reasons, only racism. So to compare the two is intellectually disingenuous. Also, the entire system of training and policing would have to be overhauled to allow the force to hire high IQ individuals, which I would definitely be in support of.

            • henrybowman

              They considered nonwhites more likely to be carriers of disease, which is every bit as “scientific and logical” as refusing to hire intelligent officers because they might be less happy in the job. When an employer decides not to hire women because they get pregnant, take maternity time off, and then ask for reduced hours because their priorities have changed, do we nod our heads and say, “that’s scientific and logical?” No, we wag our fingers and say “that’s discrimination.”

              • Dennis

                Look, what I’m trying to say is that unless they revamp their ENTIRE system, they’re gonna have to keep hiring dumb officers which I don’t agree with anyways. However the fact that you keep likening that to racism and pseudoscience is worrying, since the differences between racial disparity and IQ disparity is completely different.

                • henrybowman

                  You’re missing the point. What I’m saying is that discrimination is equally abhorrent, regardless of whether the government in charge denounces it or whether they (try to) justify it.

                  Keep in mind that under Jim Crow, the problem was not that the law allowed it, but that the law mandated it. The government not only said it was all right, but justified it to the point that you weren’t allowed to act otherwise.

                  People tend to automatically assume that when a government says something is fair and just, it must mean it is fair and just. History proves otherwise, and this police issue needs to end up on the same side of history as Jim Crow.

                  I share your concern about them having to revamp their current system. So allowing them to reinforce their current system by imposing this restriction would be a step backwards, no?

                  • Adama Salawan

                    The IQ test was created to justify white supremacy.

                    • Is that why Asians, Indians, and the Catalan are always on top?

            • NikolaiG

              Back then people thought racism was scientifically justified. You ARE entirely missing the point.

              • Dennis

                No, only white people did, because they are the ones who invented the racial hierarchy. Not just that, but believing something is “scientifically justified” through unscientific means is not really scientific, or knowledgeable.

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    • Joey Pittman

      You know this article about low IQ and the dumbing of America does not mention one thing about politics, and 9 out of 10 things on here are right wing viewers slamming democrats, makes you wonder…..

    • wait………..what did I just read?

    • Kerry Eaton

      So then Obama has what. 30

      • Dennis

        The max is 50, and since Obama is pretty brilliant, he’d be within the high 40’s.

        • Christopher Suiters

          Brilliant… ROFL.

          • Adama Salawan

            Yeah, well he is President and you are not.

            • Captain Obvious

              Which means absolutely nothing.

            • So was George Bush

    • Faye

      I see that I am a bit late in seeing this article and reading all of the negative feedback. I’ll just throw a comment here and there and let it be. Firstly, we are back to Bush again. I am unaware of his IQ, but I will say that he was a heck of a lot better than what we have running our country right now.
      My husband is a Police Officer and extremely intelligent. He did not choose to be an officer because of his IQ. If anything, his reason was and is to serve and protect. There is a comment on here somewhere about the pay for the “cops.” Allow me to back you up and let you know that how much they make is NOT why they do their job.
      What is the first number that you will dial when in need of help? The crackheads on the street corners who shoot one another or the “cops” with a low IQ? Granted there has been a lot of bad choices made in the past year. However, look how many right choices were made.
      Now onward to the media. I love the News. Consequently, I pay attention to it. If the media would stop saying the race of who shot and the race of who got shot, that would help a lot.
      If the organized white group from the past would come forward and not be violent, but pull together like the NAACP, things would get done in Washington.

      • Paul!

        I think you are giving the media way too much credit. People aren’t angry with the police because of the way the media covers these stories. People are angry with the police because of horrible personal experiences they have had with them.

        The media can make them look like saints but that won’t change the fact that I’ve been stopped for no reason twice then illegally searched, had my vehicle illegally searched, and was personally threatened before being let go with no citation. Sure that was only two police, but each time there were at least 5 others just letting them do it.

        There is a trial going on right now Philly, where an ex-cop has stated how he and his fellow police planted drugs on thousands of people to get drug arrests. He said it happened too many times to count but it was in the thousands.This happened over a 24 year period by multiple police.

      • Vinnie Garbone
      • Hankphite

        Wow. This comment was very painful to read. You are quite retarded.

      • Sounds like you and your husband need a vacation. No problem, just ask him to go out and shoot an UNARMED person and just like that, paid leave…

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    • kurt

      According to this you can’t be a cop with an iq lower than 104, yet you can be president of the United States with an iq of only 91 just like good ol George W. Bush. Something doesn’t seem right here.

      • Barnslayer

        W knows how to fly a military jet…. Where’s your wings?

        • Mike Rice

          The F-102 that he flew was one of the most automated aircraft of it’s era. I.E. Easy to fly given that the ground pretty much did it for you.

          • Barnslayer

            So nobody washed out of that program? Automated for it’s time. Remember the Texas Instruments SR-10?

            • Mike Rice

              Remember W being AWOL at the time? He ran away from his duty to fly that highly automated F-102.

              • Barnslayer

                Bush’s fault = anything the liberals refuse to take responsibility for.
                Tell me how brave Clinton or oblamer were when they served……..

                BTW: Do you really know ANYTHING about aircraft? You keep saying “highly automated”.
                Maybe you should read what the pilot needed to do. Today’s airliners are far more advanced. Maybe you should apply for a job as a pilot.

                • NikolaiG

                  I know a lot about aviation. My family is a family of pilots through several generations. Bush didn’t need to know much to fly that machine that flies itself. Put him in a Piper or Cessna and see how he does. He would go down like JFK junior.

                  • Barnslayer

                    This comment shows you know nothing about aviation.

        • purplelibraryguy

          Not in combat, though, not AWOL boy.

          • Barnslayer

            AWOL…. you mean like Bubba Clinton? Certainly not dodging sniper fire like his wife Hitlery.

        • NikolaiG

          Military jets are computerized. They nearly fly themselves.

          • Barnslayer

            Of course! Then if you know how to use a computer, you should be able to get your wings without any further training.

        • KOOLTOZE

          piloting an old, ‘reserve’ jet is about as complicated as operating an AMTRAK train, or being proficient at operating a crane…does that qualify someone to be President in your narrow, shallow mind?

      • JMH57

        91 is about 90 points higher than Obama.

        • Kyle Pinson

          Oh silly racist. :3

          • Geoffrey Russell

            F off

      • LifeLibertyPursuitOfHappiness

        Please provide some evidence that George W. Bush had an IQ of only 91. I don’t think he was a good president or that he was someone who was very intelligent but I have a hard time believing his IQ was only 91. Additionally, while you want your President to be intelligent, one of the key aspects of being President is choosing a staff which are highly intelligent and knowledgeable about the topics they are providing counsel on. It is better to have a President who is intelligent but knows his own limitations and can create a team of advisers that are intelligent and make use of their advice and then compare their advice with his own knowledge. Having a President who is extremely intelligent but is unwilling to take advice from his advisers who study very specific aspects can be a detriment to the governance provided.

        Just to reiterate, I am no fan of GW Bush and think he was a pretty awful President but I think Obama is just as awful but it is just manifested in a different form.

        • NikolaiG

          Evidence? Just watch any video of him.

        • KOOLTOZE

          “Please provide some evidence that George W. Bush had an IQ of only 91.” Just listen to his recorded speeches (I’m the decider!”) and you’ll find plenty of evidence…his early campaign speeches are even more damning…

        • Twomey

          I see you’re on the side of the (for the wealthy), Liberty (for those having a lot of money for their defense, or are famous and/or well-connected’ lord help you if you are poor, a minority teenager and above), and Happiness (I’ll leave that up to your abject ignorance).

      • Jeff Ritenburg

        I wonder how many iq points you get docked for believing an email with presidential iq statistics that were clearly fabricated…

        • NikolaiG

          Einstein was on the low side of genius. So it pays to be very smart, but creativity isn’t measured by IQ tests. When you combine low genius with great creativity … you get Einstein.

          • Stewart Liam

            “Einstein was on the low side of genius. So it pays to be very smart, but creativity isn’t measured by IQ tests. When you combine low genius with great creativity … you get Einstein”

            Old post, I know.

            But are you native English? because normally somebody wouldn’t be able to make out what you’ve wrote but I believe you’re trying to explain how Einstein was a mad genius? some would think that, the rest of what you wrote is incorrect sadly.

            Einstein and like many other famous people like him were speculated
            to have Low-Latent Inhibition, it wasn’t just creativity.

            • Zander

              I think he was saying Einstein was on the low side of the genius level IQ. Like, if the genius level was 160-180, then Einstein would be around 160.

          • Bris Vegas

            Einstein is widely considered to have an IQ around 160. That means he was smarter than 99.997% of the general population. Most physicians and lawyers have an IQ of only 120-130.

            • Geoffrey Russell

              Research shows that IQ estimates are never accurate.

          • Twomey

            Einstein never took an iq test,eejit! They didn’t even have children’s iq tests until the 1950’s.

      • Bris Vegas

        George W Bush had a IQ of 120-130 based on his SATs.That is the same range as most physicians and lawyers., Nobody with an IQ of 91 could ever pass military pilot training or obtain a Harvard MBA.

        • KOOLTOZE

          unless he was the son of a wealthy, politically powerful man who ran the CIA…

    • Hbomb

      It’s contradictory that an intelligent person would want to be a cop anyways. Most I’ve seen seem to have very average IQs because they do not really solve crimes they just write tickets to increase city revenue. If this is what you want to make your life’s work then yes you must be very average.

      • Faye

        and…what is your life’s calling, Mr Hbomb?

        • JMH57

          Hbomb is a troll. That’s his life’s calling.

      • John D

        Beat cops don’t solve crimes. They patrol and write tickets. That is their job. Crimes are solved by Investigators (Detectives). Before you criticize cops you should learn what their different roles are. It’s contradictory to me that a clueless moron thinks he is qualified to comment on the various roles of law enforcement.
        What is your life’s work, moron.

        • theprideofpit

          And this has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand. Typical troll. Typical cop. Move the argument into a moot tangent. Disgusting.

        • theprideofpit

          And what are those various roles?:

          1. Suppress
          2. Dominate
          3. Initimidate

          What gets me most of all is these drones don’t even realize that they too are just citizens, just sheep, they think they are in some elevated state or position in society, but now … cops are not more than any other labor force … but that they have organized themselves into a ruthless gang armed to the teeth, who react without thinking and then spew off some pathetic dribble like, “my life was in danger, I’m brave,” please.

      • KOOLTOZE

        They rely, more and more, on community tipsters to call Crime Stoppers with information that they used to ‘detect’ on their own. Most avoid getting out of their patrol cars, unless there’s a chance they can harass or shoot someone. I’ve had several encounters with stupid LEOs who cannot justify enforcing stupid, over-reaching laws, other than to say “We don’t write the laws, we only enforce them” (without any consideration for discretion or common sense).

      • Geoffrey Russell

        Many better ways to serve the public to a much greater degree. I’d bet that 98% of people have never been directly helped by a police officer.

    • george

      If that dud was so smart why did he settle to be a prison guard…

      • LifeLibertyPursuitOfHappiness

        Well first of all, despite the claims of an economic recovery, there is still a very tight labor market. Additionally, most of the jobs that have been added in the “recovery” are low paying service jobs. Also, this person chose a pretty much useless major as far as potential job opportunities. A degree in literature may help someone become a writer but only a very small % of literature majors actually become successful authors. In fact, most successful authors do not have a background in literature.

        The applicant was a decently intelligent person who had no real marketable skills in today’s marketplace, so he looked into becoming a police officer. Due to his intelligence he was rejected which is one of the reasons he ended up becoming a prion guard.

        A degree is not a ticket to a good job, especially for a huge number of majors which do not provide any truly marketable skills. Nearly all of the social science majors are complete jokes and the only valuable skill that is attained is the ability to write well. However, these majors are extremely easy to skate by in and with the internet, many people with these majors don’t develop critical thinking skills since the internet provides so much potential content for their papers that they can largely plagiarize the work of others by making some slight alterations and passing their content off as their own.

        This is why a lot of these majors should be reduced to minors or only be allowed to be majored in if they are pursuing a double major in conjunction with a major that actually teaches material that provides marketable skills. This is the reason why so many college graduates are obtaining low paying jobs with little opportunity for advancement. They spend 4 years learning how to pass other people’s work as their own and partying. Our University education system would be much more effective if these social science/liberal arts degrees were removed from the curriculum as degree generating course work. The only value for most of these degrees is to allow people to “pad” thier grades in order to use them as a method to pursue law school.

    • Kinda make ya proud to be rejected…….

    • Larry Miller

      ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it”. Upton Sinclair. That sums this up. Departments can’t have thinkers. It upsets the process. As a well tenured police officer of 25 years, police work at its core needs a re-write!

      And it will not be solved here with bumper sticker responses to intricate and complicated social and political problems. And, no. I am not anti-police, or hold grudges or was treated bad.
      It is about relationships, efficacy and stewardship and the realization that the Department solely exists for the community!
      If I had to come up with a short description of a solution for this I would use one from a movie whose tittle I can no longer remember, but it went something like this; there was a verbal exchange go IQ’s between a French police Officer and a suspect: …”Where were the police when the Nazi’s came for us?”
      Meaning Officers need to understand they serve the public good and NOT the Department or Sergeant.

    • Kristinfan413years

      fascism at it’s best

    • Chris

      We on the left need to dodge Michael Moore like the right should dodge Ann Coulter.

      • handgunnar

        Coulter at least provides attribution to her arguments. Moore simply pulls fairytales out of his ass.

    • Chris

      And I must be SO pro-police, gun, and bible to even call this article out.

    • Chris

      this is on of the poorest written articles I have ever read, regardless of my beliefs, and I await comments that suggest I am a fascist simply for acknowledging this article is horribly written and completely agenda driven. It says it all that wikileaks has recommended her as a trusted journalist. Other than a SINGLE story about IQ and its relation to the hiring practices of local police, it gives you absolutely no evidence otherwise. Then, to use what others have done as evidence in your article is A) the laziest fucking thing you can do as a “journalist”, and B) Not really evidence at all. But what do I know? I must be a fascist because I call out lazy, uninspired, and agenda driven journalism that shows absolutely no research of its own other than watching an episode of a Michael Moore show.

      • theprideofpit


    • Lacey Sheridan

      Officers engaged in high profile incidents generate much publicity, but the truth is, police work is mind-numbingly boring most of the time. Why would bright people be attracted to a job that involves little mental challenge and at least the potential to be placed in life-threatening situations? A college graduate can find more interesting, more lucrative work; the best a police department is likely to get is the brighter individual, who, for multiple reasons, did not attend or complete college. I believe that this is at least one reason LEO’s are more limited today. Years ago, most people, especially blue collar people, rarely attended college; thus, they joined the applicant pool for civil service jobs, including the police department. Often, they were intelligent enough, merely lacking formal education. Today, huge numbers of high school graduates complete college who would never have been admitted in the past. This further downgrades the remaining group who join the PD. Add the fact that they are poorly paid given the level of responsibilty they have; the result is current headlines.

      • shaun h

        To disallow intelligent people from becoming cops has created a problem of its own, as we are seeing play out.

    • Jeremy Hutchinson

      This article is the anti-cop’s wet dream. Despite the applicant’s process occurring in 1996, you can find this piece re-published numerous times, including in 2014. I’m sad to report that a Google search of “too smart to be a cop” only produced this often-cited anecdote on page 1.

      For those who have taken the Wonderlic, you know it isn’t the most comprehensive IQ test in the world. Further, it does nothing to measure someone’s ‘street smarts,’ their ability to relate to others, their ability to solve realistic problems, etc. That being said, my supposed IQ from Wonderlic came out to the exact same score as a graduate exam I took in the same timeframe, so there is something to it.

      Reading between the lines of this article, Jordan was probably disqualified for more reasons that a 33 on the Wonderlic. Did you note his age? Do you think the PD wanted to hire someone that’s able to retire shortly after becoming an officer? Nope. But you can’t discriminate based on age in this country. (Of note, this is why many PDs no longer tell applicants why they weren’t hired.)

      Based on personal experience, I can tell you this is completely bogus. Going through the LE process, I scored higher than Jordan, as did numerous other applicants that were eventually hired. Sorry, but I think you need to find another reason to hate pigs, one-time, 5-0, etc. I’m sure you won’t have any trouble.

      PS This site wasn’t very mobile-friendly, so I apologize for any typos. Please call me a “stupid idiot” and disregard everything I said if you find some.

      • John D

        IQ tests are seriously flawed and not to be trusted. I have taken many after scoring highly on the SAT and getting a BS in Engineering. My scores were all over the place on the IQ tests I took. The lowest was 110 and the highest was 125. This was over a period of a year when I was taking a break from school. I did it as an idea for a future doctorate, but never actually went back to school after my Masters. Life got in the way.
        Having said all this, I am still of the opinion that most of these comments that criticize the police are made by individuals that run afoul of the law on a regular basis.

        • KOOLTOZE

          How about all of the people who have had very limited personal experience with LEOs, but were traumatized by arrogant, ignorant, incompetent thugs with badges?

      • shaun h

        Bottom line? The department argued and the court agreed that there was a good reason to disqualify based on above average intelligence.

        You point to the fact that this article is dated as if to say things have changed since this ruling when you know that it hasn’t, this ruling is the law of the land until a higher court overturns it.

        Maybe you’d like to argue that abortion is no longer legal based on the fact that Roe v. Wade is a ruling from 1973.

        When folks such as yourself comment, intelligent people have no problem believing cops to be generally stupid.

    • 0penYourMind

      Whoever set the policy most likely came to this conclusion after realizing that higher intelligence was a common factor in many officers who quit. What’s ridiculous is the reasoning they use to justify it. Saying they will get bored is complete BS, but the problem is it seems believable to most. The real reason they leave is because at some point they disagree with department policy’s that tell them who to discriminate against, what type of force to use in certain situations, exactly how to act regardless of circumstances, etc. Apparently asking questions, and using your brain to conclude a fair and logical solution, is a detrimental flaw in a police officer.

      This is worst case scenario for our police departments. They are now foot soldiers ready to take and execute orders without thought, and are now equipped with military equipment to go along with the training. It seems our government has prepared your local PD for a civil war.

    • Doug Milliken

      A better question would be: is it possible to be too dumb to be hired as a cop?

      • KOOLTOZE

        For many PDs, obviously not…

    • Kate

      This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. I can’t believe someone was actually allowed to publish something like this. Targeting men and women who join the police force because they have no ambition to get a real job is ridiculous. People are so ungrateful and ignorant of the bravery of these men and women and what they put their lives on the line for. If we are going to label cops as being mindless drones for protecting our freedom and providing us with safety then I have no hope for the people in this country. And as for the spiteful and inconsiderate person who made a comment about our military, how dare you? Do you have any idea the process that military men and women go through to be trained to defend our country? I’m going to guess no because you’re too blind to consider anything other than your own mindless opinions. If we are going to discuss who’s following who based on lack of intelligencw, why don’t we take a look at those who actually believe the crap in this “article”? Let’s base all of our opinions on what the media tells us because clearly everything they say is fact based and they’ve never told any lies. I’m not sure how any of you plan to function in a democratic society without police and military forces to protect us, but just let me know who you are going to call when you are in need or who you expect to lay their lives on the line for you when we are under attack. You can hate what I have to say and completely disagree, but if you’re going to comment on things of this matter do your research, consider your morals (if you in fact have any), and stop eating up everything the media claims is true.

      • Mark

        Did you know as a sanitation worker you have a higher chance of getting killed or injured while on the job than a law enforcement officer and the Supreme Court ruled that the police have no obligation to protect a citizen and that no police or law enforcement officer protects you because a crime has to be committed for them to do anything so you have to be hurt or killed before a law enforcement officer steps in its just funny because it seems like you just mindlessly believe that these people put their lives on the line for anyone when they are more worried about themselves and their own safety befor a citizen. Police departments around the country mainly attract sociopaths I mean think about it what kind of human being wants to carry around a gun and feel proud they lock people up for breaking arbitrary and useless laws it kind of makes you think twice before calling a psychopath with a gun over to protect you

      • KOOLTOZE

        The military, like most PDs, wants mindless drones who will blindly follow all orders without thinking…in the case of the military, this is more defensible, since their situations generally covers large areas with changing dynamics and multiple factors that aren’t apparent to each individual soldier. This is rarely the case for local PDs, unless there is a mass demonstration or a riot. The expert’s opinions expressed in this article are based on their years of experience and common sense. If they offend you, you could disagree and make a logical argument for your opinion, but you choose to immediately denigrate an opposing opinion and slander the messenger. I believe most people understand how dangerous being a LEO or service-member is, and appreciate those who serve appropriately. However, there is more and more evidence that too many LEOs are poorly or incorrectly trained for a job that includes the ability to lawfully use deadly force, and that the policies regarding the selection of whom to hire should be re-evaluated.

    • Hal

      It requires far more intelligence to competently advice people RE insurance than it does to be a cop – or adequately perform in most professions – good read, otherwise.

      • John D

        Your post is laughable.
        Advice? Don’t you mean advise? And why did you capitalize “RE”?
        Too bad you haven’t exhibited any of that intelligence you think so highly of.

    • Commie Dearest

      Well, this explains a lot.

    • Pingback: Baseless paranoia about crime in America drives police violence | Third Rail News()

    • John Kellum

      The guy who’s shield is “upside down”? He is left handed. The person who took and captioned the photo would seem to be the slow one.

      • S Charlesworth

        Whose the slow one?

    • Derrick E

      My dad used to say this saying years ago. He had many cop friends. The saying is as follows.
      Those who can, do!
      Those who can’t, teach!
      Those who can’t teach become cops.

    • mrbrockpeters

      This is frightening.

    • JB

      Two micro stories:

      A neighbor of mine that had finished grad school applied to several PDs but was unsuccessful.

      And a roommate from university that graduated with a CS degree patrols California’s highways with the CHP.

    • Robert

      This is insanity that everyone should know about. You call the police mindless goons, well this is the proof that accusation is quite accurate.

    • scurvydog

      And now we know why police officers expect us to believe that those handcuffed people shot themselves in the head after they were searched.

    • kira

      that one guy has his shield upside down.

    • yannaro

      I don’t know if some one can be too smart to be a police officer but I do know that some one can’t be too stupid to be a police officer.

      • John D

        I would imagine you are talking about your arresting officers.

    • JamieHaman

      Not surprising news concerning intelligence among officers. It sure does explain why so many crimes are never solved too.

    • tomjefferson77

      People are just now figuring this out?? Of course they want cops they hire to be stupid, it keeps them from questioning authority. Ideally, they’d like some steroid-fueled imbecile with a military background, someone who already has a taste for killing.

    • Bob

      If Jordan is so smart why doesn’t he re-apply so that he can take the test again and purposely get a lower score. Is it job that he wants or does he just want to make a statement?

      • LakenJewel

        They keep track of your scores and your applications. If it worked like you’re suggesting then all the people who fall the personality test because they’re too crazy to be trusted with a weapon and a slight position of power would just keep applying until they were hired…

        • John D

          Not if you go to a different state. More mindless comments from idiots that delight in denigrating the police.

      • UrbanCyclist666

        I doubt they’ll forget his first score.

    • Alan Williams

      I have said it before….we are placing the legal power to kill people….in the hands of the dumbest people in our society…..

      • Joe Schmoe

        It’s not the “dumbest people” who are cops. They have an average IQ of 104, as stated in the article. That’s almost exactly average.

        That may or may not be what we want as a society, but go talk to somebody with an IQ of 75 for a few minutes and you’ll realize that we’re at least not putting this power in the hands of “the dumbest people”.

        • CNN is a State Dept Mouthpiece

          104 is still pretty damn stupid.

          • Anon

            Its true, IQ results don’t reflect Dumb Avg Smart, an IQ of 100 is literally the AVERAGE of what society is at, meaning if society is filled with a bunch of morons on average than 100 is actually a group of idiots. Intelligence has been degrading over time, though the world is filled with much more information, life has also become easier. Reliance on so many conveniences in our lives and distractions has left the American people in general devoid of intelligence. If you score 100 on an IQ test I feel sorry for you.

            • Anon

              Or an easier way to say it would be…. An IQ score of 100 means that 50% of the people scored
              better, and 50% scored worse.

              • Francis Frégeau

                That would be the median… The mean of a sample doesn’t lie halfway across its density function, it’s merely its center of mass from a purely mechanistic point of view. If the PDF is uniform, then sure, it will be halfway.

            • S Charlesworth

              It’s not true that intelligence has been degrading. Read about the Flynn Effect.

            • Zak

              An IQ test isn’t a definitive answer for how smart someone may be. It also doesn’t take into account the variability that intelligence reflects. Not to mention, 130+ essentially qualifies an individual as a genius, 105-120 is common of doctors, lawyers, and the like. Sub 90 youre likely stocking shelves, whereas the median of 100 has plenty of doors available for people. Although, IQ tests do not take into account a persons capability to learn, nor do they always rely heavily on logic skills (a skill that a police office should certainly have). So even if two people in the police force have IQs of 100 one could greatly out perform the other.

              • John D

                Thank you. Finally, someone that understands IQ tests.
                What is funny to me is all the critical posts by people that can’t spell simple words or construct a meaningful, coherent sentence. Dolts.

            • babydriver

              A world full of knowledge, devoid of wisdom.
              God said it would happen, and here we are.
              In Jesus Name, Amen.

        • Commie Dearest

          Forget dumb or average; I want the best and the brightest. And they are deliberately screening out the moderately bright. WTF?

    • blewvelvet

      I guess getting dumb people insures they will do what you want…regardless of what is moral or what is right. We are fucked if dumb uneducated people get their hands on weapons and are validated in using them without law or proper assessment skills.

    • Drew Marshall

      It isn’t the low amount of money that causes corruption – but rather being in a position of power to get away with it. Look at government employees. They make above minimum wage but they are also in the position to get away with engaging in corruption How dumb to suggest that the lower the pay the higher chance of engaging in corruption. Millions of minimum wage workers might disagree with that. The police: The new Brute Squad (no brains, just muscle).

      • John Warren

        You are right. It’s not absolute power that produces absolute corruption. It’s absolute immunity. When a police officer uses a strangle hold that his own department has banned and isn’t even tried. Something is wrong.

    • Bodinky100

      What makes people want to have authority over other people? They always attract these types to law enforcement, military, prison guards, Child protection services etc.. I am so glad that I am not like this and never had the desires to have authority over people!

    • BIll Teston

      Smart people think for themselves. They want programmed stormtroopers that never question anything and do as their told.

      • Joe Schmoe

        I heard they will automatically reject you if you know the proper use of “their”, “there”, and “they’re”!

        • Just One Opinion

          I see what you did there, Joe.

          • The Correct Opinion

            i see what you did, their Joe.

            • Just One Opinion


              But I did use a capital ‘I’ at the beginning of my sentence, and your ‘their’ is incorrect. Perhaps the correction and/or joke is over my head. No worries, all is well.

          • The Correct Opinion

            i see what you did, their Joe.

        • DCCop58

          I’m just a dumb cop, but doesn’t the comma go INSIDE the quotes?

    • I got pulled over by the Georgia State Patrol and one of them had problems reading my t-shirt!!!

    • Pigs are stupid clods that couldn’t pour piss from a boot with the directions written on the heel.

    • Kat

      Engineers vs. Foreman vs. Floor… you future was determined by the time you were in the third grade… at least in Detroit

    • Malcolm Reynolds

      The guy can’t be very intelligent. He actually WANTS to be a cop…

      • JamieHaman

        Police could actually do a whole lot of good if they are smart enough to actually solve crimes, not just write tickets.

        • CNN is a State Dept Mouthpiece

          I mean …. not really. Police would do a whole lot of good if they would lobby to end non-crimes like non violent drug offenses and prostitution, but that’s what gets them their quota and keeps minorities disparaged so…….

          • JamieHaman

            Thanks. You prove the point, simply in another direction. Officers out in the street take orders, the mayor, the chief, and probably the city council have a lot of input on which crimes get focused on.
            With the drugs, as long as police departments are allowed to confiscate any and everything related (or not) to possible drug crimes, they aren’t going to stop, nor will the mayor, etc. let them.

    • Nick Barone

      The police are trying to restore the public trust? Really??? In what country is this taking place?

    • Jeffrey Grimes

      Somebody cite me a source. I want the Federal Law that states that police officers can be refused for having too high of an IQ.

    • Matt Swayze

      only 55mph? the earth spins at 1000mph at the equator, so assuming the earth is only spinning 50% of that, that’s 500mph so, you’re actually losing quite a lot of distance. unless of course you’re looking to go west, at which point you’ll meet that 150 mile mark in 15-20 minutes.

      • Westin

        That was just about the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard, and implies far more wisdom then it actually contains…. have you ever thought of becoming a cop?

    • Mike

      There are a lot of really stupid cops out there that don’t know what to do and get all pissy when the pull over or stop a person that knows their rights, constitution, and/or law better than they do. 98% of the cops I’ve ever had to deal with outside of work (Security Guard) are a bunch of asswholes foe absolutely no reason or pull people over for no reason. Its petty, pointless, and stupid what the police force is and has become.

    • Sick-of-it-inGREENBAY

      It actually time to DISBAND the Nations Police Depts and most Federal agencies..they Break & violate more laws than the people do.. Plus they no longer protect and serve the people..they the Militarized Police Depts in America now see us as the enemy and treat us accordingly…… Soon the great RESET will begin you can only push people into a corner for so long until the STRIKE BACK……& on that day the Police will NEVER EVER be that unhappy again…

    • Sick-of-it-inGREENBAY

      The want mindless drones that will blindly follow orders….

      • Joe Schmoe

        Do you have any evidence for this? They don’t say this is the reason, and there’s nothing here to indicate that it would be the case.

        The military, for example, should have even more desire to get people who will “blindly follow orders” but they don’t have a cap on IQ, nor have they ever. (Interestingly, the average IQ of a military recruit is 105, according to one source that analyzed the DOD data, almost exactly the same as the average police officer.)

        The police say it’s because they don’t want somebody who will get bored and leave the job soon, wasting all the time and money the department spent training them. This sounds entirely plausible. The military isn’t subject to this because they can simply not allow recruits to leave.

        I know it’s popular to hate the police these days, but in this case, having average-IQ officers has a different root cause. Every employer — not just the police department — wants to avoid hiring overqualified candidates, for many reasons. (Google words like “rejected job overqualified” and you’ll find plenty of articles about this.) Seeking employees who will “blindly follow orders” is simply not one of those reasons.

        • Jacob Ross

          There are many levels of employment in the department. Not just beat cops. Pardon the pun, but that argument is a cop out at best.

        • CNN is a State Dept Mouthpiece

          Coincidentally, much of the military is also a bunch of idiots. Not all, of course, but if we’re speaking empirically on a bell curve it’s true.

          That’s why you can just sign up for the military no questions asked. It doesn’t take a genius.

          “Oh great. You can see straight, you have functional legs, and you played call of duty for six months. Get to work.”

    • Richard Vickers

      police apparently don’t need to understand the law or even know what it is. they can testify to the fact that they don’t know the law and their testimony that someone broke the same law will still stand. how’s that for a fair trial?

      • Darris Hawks

        Police aren’t prosecutors. They are witnesses.

        • Brandon Magoon

          Nobody said they were.

    • Wade Kuznia

      I can tell if a cop is particularly stupid and trick him into not giving me a ticket sometimes. It’s like the jedi mind trick. I’ve been doing it for years…

      • Sir Casm


      • tony mckeys

        I can one up that. I drove w/o a license for 25 years. During said time, I was asked 38 times to show my license to an officer. But only twice were the cops bright enough not to be distracted and remain focused on their demand to see my ID. You see, they are not only woefully inept, but they are completely predictable. If you’re curious, the two cops that got it right and cited me were both CHP.

    • Kevin Young

      so thats why so many of them dont even know the laws they enforce… many cases people are just arrested based on what the cops personal opinion is which is just ridiculous

      • Mike

        Pretty much, yeah.

      • sceezone

        exacta-fuckin’-mundo. . . and it’s also why when you ask, you get the deer in headlights look. If the answer comes too quickly, he’s already used that response before.

      • babydriver

        See: Adams County Sheriffs Office, Colorado.
        These cops have so many tattoos, the only way to tell them from gang bangers is the uniform.

    • Sir Casm

      Hmm.. I find this rather shallow and pedantic… Hmm yes.. Shallow and pedantic…hmm yes..

      • Ryan

        Hmm, yes, I agree, both shallow and pedantic. I came here to read the comments, but started laughing my ass off when I saw this.
        Very Petarded!