Justice Department Claims Virginia Beach Police Math Exam Discriminates Against Blacks, Hispanics

AP, Feb. 9, 2006

A U.S. Justice Department investigation into hiring practices at the Virginia Beach Police Department has concluded that a math exam given to recruits discriminates against blacks and Hispanics.

The math test is one of a handful of separately timed and scored components of the National Police Officer Selection Test used to screen and select entry-level officers. The investigation found that between 2002 and 2005, about 85 percent of white applicants passed the math test, while 66 percent of Hispanic applicants and 59 percent of blacks passed.

Virginia Beach demands that applicants score at least 70 percent to pass, which adversely affects blacks and Hispanics, the justice department said in a letter to the city.

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The DOJ told the city it can enter into a consent decree by taking appropriate measures to end the discrimination and providing “sufficient remedial relief” to the applicants who suffered the discrimination.

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