After 22 percent of prospective officers failed new psychological screening, the Milwaukee Police Department swore in a smaller-than-expected class of recruits yesterday, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The pool of recruits started at 77, but 17 failed the psychological examination, two others washed out at other parts of the screening and one declined the job, bringing the new class in at 57.
With more than 200 officer vacancies and homicides surging this year, Chief Nannette Hegerty has pressed for a third class of recruits to join the two already planned in 2006. Stephen Curran, a Baltimore-based police psychologist who does testing for law enforcement agencies, said there is no standard failure rate for psychological screening. Some departments with vigorous background investigations have only 2% of applicants fail, he said. Others that don’t scrutinize backgrounds so closely sometimes have higher failure rates at the psychological screening stage.