Chesapeake Police Groups Say They’ll Sue If City Voids Tests

Kristin Davis, Virginian-Pilot (Hampton Roads, Virginia), October 23, 2008

Two Chesapeake police organizations on Wednesday threatened to sue the city if it voids recent test results that would propel 30 men—none of them black—toward the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant.

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Michael Imprevento, an attorney for Chesapeake’s Fraternal Order of Police and the Coalition of Police, called any interruption in the process unlawful.

“We believe that the initial test was fair and created a level playing field for all participants,” he said. “If the city delays action or invalidates the procedures, we will seek legal relief. Too much is at stake for too many good people.”

Thirty-six police officers took the exam for lieutenant earlier this month; none of the nine women and blacks who tested was among the top tier.

Of the 108 who took the test for sergeant, none of the 23 blacks and women scored high enough to move forward.

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The city initially voided the test results. City Manager William Harrell said the decision was made to hire a consultant after it was determined that no incorrect materials were handed out after the official resource lists were published July 1.

It is unclear how much the review will cost, but Harrell said he hopes it is far less than the $50,000 the city pays a consultant annually to administer tests and conduct job interviews, among other duties.

“We think that compromise is one that protects the city and those that are part of the process,” Harrell said.

Imprevento disagreed.

“That’s scant comfort to scores of qualified, hardworking people who are now in limbo,” he said. “It further compounds the negative impact on morale that this whole issue has created. All of these officers stand together, and they all consider themselves blue.”

Imprevento said of the promotion exams. “The same policies and procedures are available for all to review as police officers.

“It is my belief that any invalidation of these results would be based strictly on race. . . . The test was race-neutral.”

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[Editor’s Note: Yesterday’s story on this subject can be read here.]

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