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NCJ Number: 97885 Find in a Library
Title: Affirmative Action in Police Organizations (From Police Management Today, P 149-161, 1985, James J Fyfe, ed. - See NCJ-97876)
Author(s): C McCoy
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: International City/County Management Assoc
Washington, DC 20002
Sale Source: International City/County Management Assoc
777 North Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses components of a constitutionally acceptable affirmative action program for police departments. Issues addressed include quotas versus goals, promotions, the promulgation process, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines.
Abstract: Affirmative action is legal, and the police administrator's most pressing task is to design a plan matching those that have withstood legal attacks. Police departments can adopt a quota or a goal for a specified level of minority participation in the police department's work force, depending on the department's history and characteristics of the decisionmaking body that mandates adoption of the affirmative action program. The Bakke case and others indicate that a preferential program is legal if it uses goals. If it uses quotas, it will be legal if a compelling State interest (for racial quotas) or a rational basis (for nonracial quotas) exists that justifies the reverse discrimination. In practice, a goal system is arguably fairer and less rigid than a quota, but it is also more easily ignored. Critics of the goal system aver that minorities are unfairly examined at the hiring stage. This is a valid objection, since goals can be evaded by shifting selection criteria or simply falling behind on the timetable. If all applicants are equally qualified and a choice must be made, race is as valid a criterion as any. The distinctions between goals and quotas are less clear in police promotions. Police officials argue that affirmative action is more appropriate at the hiring stage, since promotion requires individual assessment of long service records. Affirmative action plans are most likely to withstand challenge if they are promulgated by local legislative bodies, because this provides solid evidence that the public believes affirmative action to be a compelling State interest. Police can set up their own affirmative action plan claiming that it is justified by the department's operational needs, but this justification has never been squarely approved by the Supreme Court and perhaps it should not be. The article includes 24 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Affirmative action vs seniority; Equal opportunity employment; Police affirmative action programs; Police policy development; Police staff recruitment
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