Diversity in Police Ranks

Employment, Racial Justice

If you are hiring a baseball player, do you want someone who knows baseball vocabulary or someone who can pitch, bat, and catch? The same applies to Boston Police Department’s sergeant promotional exam.

As LCCR’s Executive Director explained to BNN News on October 30, 2015, standardized written multiple-choice tests for sergeant positions don’t make sense because they can’t measure leadership, command presence, and interpersonal skills.

In Lopez v. Lawrence, Black and Latino police officers are challenging an examination used by Boston, Lawrence, Lowell, Methuen, Springfield, Worcester and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to determine promotions to sergeant positions.  We contend that the exam disproportionately and unfairly excludes minority officers from advancement.

Counsel in the Lopez case include Harold L. Lichten and Benjamin Weber of Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C., and Steve Churchill of Fair Work, P.C.