Police Department Will Consider Minorities First In Hiring

Drake Lucas, Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Massachusetts), September 4, 2007

A lawsuit settled by the state last week requires the North Andover Police Department to consider a minority candidate first during its next round of hiring.

The town is one of 19 communities involved in the settlement because the civil service exam given in 2003 and 2005 was accused of favoring white candidates over minorities.

North Andover is identified as a community where a minority candidate applied during that time and was eligible for hiring, but appeared lower on the list because of a lower score on the civil service exam, which is administered through the state’s Human Resources Department.

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North Andover has no minorities on the police force. Four women do work for the department.

Lichten said minorities historically do worse than non-minorities on written exams. Lichten said exams that are more broad and include teamwork, ability to follow orders, courage and loyalty are more fair to all applicants.

Those qualities are now included in the civil service exam.

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The civil service test is given across the commonwealth to determine the order that police officers are hired. Applicants receive a score based on the exam, and the ones with the highest scores are considered first for hiring.

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The number of minority applicants that took the exam during that time is unavailable. Those applicants still have to pass a physical test and background check. If one is hired, he or she may also be eligible for back pay of up to $18,750.

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