Louisiana State Police Exam to be Replaced Under Agreement with Justice Department
In a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Louisiana State Police Commission has agreed to scrap its written entrance exam for police cadets and develop a new test that does not discriminate against African Americans. The agreement arises from a lawsuit alleging racial bias in the written exam used to screen candidates.
In the lawsuit, the Justice Department argued that the test was not job-related and disproportionately excluded African American applicants who were otherwise qualified. From 1991 to 1996, only 25 percent of African American candidates passed the exam, compared to a 66% pass rate for whites. The Justice Department found that, as a result, minorities were hired at significantly lower rates than whites.
Under the terms of the agreement, the state of Louisiana will hire a contractor to develop an exam that is demonstrably job-related and does not discriminate against African Americans. In addition, the state has been ordered to provide monetary compensation in the amount of $1 million to victims of discrimination and to give hiring priority to qualified African American candidates who were eliminated by the test. The state also has been ordered to follow a plan of outreach to and recruitment of to minority candidates.
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