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Journal Article


Perr IN. J. Forensic Sci. 1975; 20(4): 714-718.


(Copyright © 1975, American Society for Testing and Materials, Publisher John Wiley and Sons)






This paper reviews the activities of a Civil Service Medical Review Board which has reviewed the appeals of civil service applicants, particularly for police work, who have been rejected for psychiatric reasons by the hiring authority on the grounds of "mental unfitness." In a 1-1/2-year period, 98 cases have been reviewed. The Board has upheld the applicant in 65% of the cases and the hiring authority in 35% of the cases. Some of the factors resulting in the reversal of the decision of the hiring authority have been discussed. These include insufficient and superficial examination, inappropriate use of test material, attitudinal biases by the examiner, and inadequate reports which do not provide the adequate documentation required by law. It has been the hope of the Board that this review of professional judgment will ultimately impress both hiring authorities and examiners with the defects of the procedures utilized and will encourage them to provide higher quality screening which will be upheld on appeal. To a degree this has been accomplished. Hiring authorities were upheld in only 25% of the cases from September 1973 to March 1974 and 18% from March 1974 to September 1974. This changed radically in the September 1974 to December 1974 period, when hiring authorities were upheld in 60% of the appeals. As has been pointed out, such screening primarily involves review of personality disorders which, by their nature, require thoroughness of knowledge and delicacy of judgment for the formulation of a reasonable conclusion. It is hoped that these lessons will ultimately result in the selection of police officers likely to be successful at their tasks, without arbitrary rejection of those who reasonably merit a trial at work so essential to our society.

Language: en


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