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Suit to target city police race policies
Says hiring quotas violate Constitution
By Andrea Estes, Globe Staff, 12/17/2003

The lawyer who successfully challenged the Boston Fire Department's 29-year-old affirmative action plan will file suit today against the Boston police, arguing that the department has achieved racial balance and should no longer use hiring quotas.

If successful, the suit would end hiring policies put in place in Boston after two 1974 federal consent decrees ordered the city's police and fire departments to correct gross imbalances in the racial composition of their forces. Nine months ago, a federal appeals court ruled that the Fire Department could no longer follow its policy of hiring one black or Hispanic firefighter for every white firefighter, because it had achieved racial parity at the entry level.

Pointing out that blacks and Hispanics make up 38.8 percent of new officers in the Police Department, mirroring the racial mix of the city, the suit similarly argues that police hiring policy violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection.

"The defendants continue to maintain or permit a quota-based system based on race to determine entry-level hiring when such system is no longer constitutionally permissible," says the suit, which will be filed today in US District Court in Boston.

The suit, filed by Harold Lichten, is sure to once again touch a nerve in a city where racial divisions and acute injustices of the past have not been forgotten.

Many politicians and policy makers, though agreeing that racial parity has largely been achieved in entry-level police positions, have been loath to propose changing hiring practices, preferring to rely on the courts.

"It's been such a divisive issue in Boston," said Councilor at Large Maura Hennigan. "We've had such a long history of stereotypes dealing with racial issues that people are very sensitive when they try to address it from a fairness perspective. . . .

"Where you were as the racial issues unfolded in the city's history determines your perspective," she said. "If you were personally involved, it's a memory etched into being who you are. That's what is so difficult. Whichever side of the issue you're on -- if you experienced it, it's hard to objectively deal with it." Today's filing is not the first time that Police Department hiring quotas have been challenged in court. Bradley Donahue, a white applicant, sued in 2000, but his case was thrown out after the court found he did not score high enough on the state civil service test to have been hired even if the affirmative-action plan had not been in place. He is appealing.

The latest lawsuit is being brought on behalf of Paul DeLeo Jr., a municipal police officer from East Boston who got a perfect score on the 2001 civil service test and was awarded an extra point for being a police officer.

"When I got my grade, I thought I was in the door," DeLeo said. "I knew I couldn't possibly do any better. I waited and waited and didn't get hired. If you can't get hired with 100, why have a test?"

This year, 50 white applicants with scores of 100 or better were not hired, according to data provided by the state Human Resources Division.

"I don't understand why the city is continuing to maintain this system, which it clearly knows will be declared unlawful by the federal court," said Lichten, who successfully sued the Fire Department on behalf of five white candidates who had been denied jobs.

Police officials declined comment on the latest suit, which they said they have not seen. But legal adviser Mary Jo Harris said the department has not yet decided how to choose future classes of police recruits, whether to apply or abandon racial quotas.

"We're going to evaluate when and if we have a new [recruit] class on the horizon," she said.

As the lawsuit was prepared for filing yesterday, there was strong response from those on both sides of the issue.

"The policy of the past 30 years has got to change," said Councilor James M. Kelly, who opposes affirmative action.

But minority police officers and the NAACP, which will oppose the suit, say the court order should not be abandoned.

"The Police Department has come a long way, but there is still a lot more work that needs to be done," said Leonard Alkins, president of the NAACP's Boston branch. "When the city feels it has reached its goal, they will move to ask the courts to be relieved of the consent decree. The city has not chosen to do so. Obviously, it feels they haven't reached it yet. It's very disingenuous for people to try to play the race card unnecessarily."

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.
 

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Does anyone find it ironic that the NAACP is criticizing the "race card"? They certainly do not mind when it works in "their" favor. It is a weak arguement anyway...
 
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Good luck to you Paul. Hopefully your lawsuit will open doors to people who were unfairly denied jobs due to circumstances beyond their control.

As you stated, if you score 100% and can't get hired, why have a test at all??
 

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Good luck in this case I hope Paul wins!! Its reverse discrimination.
The only thing I have a problem with is the percentage of 38.8 percent minority which reflects the population of Boston. I lived in Boston for 32 years and I can tell you Boston consists of about 75%- 80 percent minority. Back in the early 80s the city may have been 38.8 percent minority but not now. The result of the second white flight in the early to mid 90s
 

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This guy DeLeo didn't recieve a 100, his experiential points brought him up to a 101. What a tease for him, that must have sucked to really think that he had a chance and get shot down. I myself am a Boston resident and do not know anyone high up in politics and had to take the recent cadet test (33% of every Boston Police Academy has to be former cadets with at least 2 years of being a cadet). Anyone else take it 12/10?
 

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Go get'em Paul !!!!!! I myself got a 100% on the last test ( the list that just died)and went through the background ( note I already work for the Boston Municipal Police) .
I got 4 cards over a year and a half period and was drug tested each time.
I went through the paperwork oreitation day 2x( short interveiw finger print etc:)
The detectives even came out to my house and NOTHING!!!!! :x now the list is dead!
I am prob one of the 50 people mentioned in the article. The whole process has burned alot of people.
Good Luck Paul...
 

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I was just wondering?, not to get off the subject but if you work for Boston municipal Police or Boston Housing Police and you get a job offer from Boston Police do you have to go through the Boston Police Academy or will your MCJTC Academy be accepted?
 
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Evidence,

Read the aticle again, S-L-O-W-L-Y. Paul did recieve a perfect 100% and got 1 added point for a 101% score. The Cadeputy preference is a scam & we all know it. The 33% cadet set aside for the academy doesn't have to be filled at all. Sometimes no cadets are in an academy.

The cadet "Step & Fetch" routine must get old but I do believe there is one good point. They get coffee so often at DD's they usually end up dating one of the toothless hags that work there.
:L: :L: :L: :L: :L: :L:

BHCCPD,

Yes, the Muni's and Housing have to go back through the academy AGAIN. It keeps the Academy staff in a job I guess. We had one guy graduate on a Friday and the following Monday he had to start all over again. I guess he didn't pay attention the first time around.
 

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BHCCPD,

Yes, the Muni's and Housing have to go back through the academy AGAIN. It keeps the Academy staff in a job I guess. We had one guy graduate on a Friday and the following Monday he had to start all over again. I guess he didn't pay attention the first time around.[/quote]

Yes, I guess it does keep the Academy staff in business LOL or its the nobody can train better then we can attitude.
 

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Well, BPD wants to train everyone their own way, just like they don't take laterals, you have to be officially BPD trained or nothing. Even if you already went through the BPD academy, you would have to go through again to be a BPD officer.
 
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Dunngeon,

I do believe a couple years back a couple or three ex-Boston cops who came back out of retirement went through the T academy. Their previous injuries mysteriously vanished now that the BPD pay is so lucrative. I guess they made the trip to Lourdes and received miraculous cures so they went back on the job.

Civil service states that these guys coming back from injuries must go through another MCJTC certified academy, it doesn't state which one. These guys held BPD to the state standard and are now back on the job with their former rank.

When bratton came back as Commissioner for all of 10 minutes, the same argument was made by a female PO on BPD who was unfairly terminated and took over 5 years to get back on. She produced evidence that Bratton was issued a gun & a badge and he was gone longer than 5 years in various places. They said, oooops and put her back on with no full academy, just a refresher.
 

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Do Municipal Police Officers attend the full-time BPD academy or full-time MCJTC academy. I know Housing goes Municipal, do they also go to Boston. And if they do go to Boston, I do not understand why you have to repeat the same damn academy again, what a waste. There should be one academy for everyone in the state ,regardless of agency.
 

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Muni's go to the BPD academy or whatever MCJTC academy has an opening. If a Muni officer were to be hired by BPD after they had already completed the BPD academy to become a Muni Patrol Officer, guess what? They're going back to Williams Street again!
 
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