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Suit seeks end to police hiring quotas
By Andrea Estes, Globe Staff | September 17, 2004

Eight white men who were rejected for jobs as Boston police officers despite receiving perfect civil service test scores today will ask a federal judge to halt the city's decades-old practice of applying racial quotas in hiring police.

The applicants, who were passed over in favor of lower-scoring minorities, will ask for a court order requiring city officials to pick the November class of recruits on the basis of test scores alone, without regard to race. Quotas are no longer necessary, the men say, because the city's Police Department is racially mixed.

"There is no court in the country that has ever permitted a race-based hiring decree to remain in effect as long as this one," said Harold Lichten, the lawyer representing the men -- all of whom received scores of 100 on the test.

The city, a defendant in the case, has not taken a hard line in defending the quota system, under which it hires one minority applicant for every white one, according to court filings. Rather, they are asking US District Court Judge Patti Saris to clarify whether the 30-year-old hiring policy, which stemmed from a lawsuit filed in the 1970s by the NAACP, should remain in effect, especially in light of a court decision last year that scrapped a similar hiring policy in the Boston Fire Department.

But the state, named as a defendant because it administers the civil service exam, and the NAACP, which is not a defendant but is allowed to argue in the case as an intervenor, are fighting the suit aggressively. Each has argued in court filings that racial balance in the Boston Police Department has not been achieved and that quotas are necessary to preserve a diverse department.

"The [policy] remains a vital, constitutional means of eradicating the last vestiges of racial discrimination surrounding police officer hiring," wrote Assistant Attorney General Robert L. Quinan Jr., representing the state's Human Resources Division, in court papers.

Said Leonard Alkins, head of the NAACP's Boston Branch: "We're not saying there hasn't been any change. We're just saying that parity hasn't been reached. Whenever there are one or two more African-Americans or other people of color employed, people immediately want to say that's enough. It took them a long time to get to the point where they recognized there was discrimination to begin with. I think they need to go a little further."

The eight plaintiffs in the case scored 100 on the 2001 civil service exam for police officer but were not offered jobs.

Paul DeLeo Jr., the original plaintiff, is now a member of the Newton police force. Others in the group include a Cambridge police officer, a senior crime analyst in the Boston Police Department, an investigator in the Suffolk district attorney's office, and the son of Boston police superintendent Robert Dunford.

According to data provided by the state's Human Resources Division, 50 white applicants with scores of 100 were passed over by the department in 2003.

In 1974, federal judges issued consent decrees ordering the city's police and fire departments to correct gross imbalances in the departments' racial composition. At the time, 5 percent of the city's firefighters were black.

The remedy was a policy of hiring a new black officer for every new white officer. The policy was ordered to remain in effect until the racial makeup of the force reflected that of the city.

Blacks and Hispanics now make up 38.8 percent of new officers in the Police Department, according to the lawsuit.
 

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Well, let's hope something gets resolved before rankings are compiled in Fall 2005 for the next civil circus test. I just moved to Boston figuring that they put on classes more often than smaller towns. I got a 100 on the last 2 tests, should have my Master's in CJ by next year and am getting R/I academy now. Hopefully another high score and my other qualifications won't get bypassed by a score of 82!!!!
 

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Well, let's hope something gets resolved before rankings are compiled in Fall 2005 for the next civil circus test. I just moved to Boston figuring that they put on classes more often than smaller towns. I got a 100 on the last 2 tests, should have my Master's in CJ by next year and am getting R/I academy now. Hopefully another high score and my other qualifications won't get bypassed by a score of 82!!!!
Aren't they supposed to put two classes on this year? If thats the case then I'd imagine that there be more in fy 2006. I think that the fire lawsuit is still ongoing so these things take forever.....
 

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I heard there is a class slated for Oct. or Nov. of this year. I didn't hear anything about 2 classes. I looked online at the budget and it is kind of tough to find anything that specifically says anything about new academies. So, it looks like I'll be gearing up for the test in April!!!!!
 
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