Nashville’s police department changed its system for promoting police officers to increase the number of minorities in the upper ranks. Before the change – when only test scores were considered – it had been eight years since a minority had been elevated to lieutenant. After the change, two black sergeants made lieutenant. The new policy means that some white sergeants are passed over for promotion despite having higher test scores.
Three officers are scheduled to meet tomorrow with the top brass to discuss the promotion process. “I was dumbfounded when I was passed over,” said one white officer. Chief Ronal Serpas got approval for a new policy that allowed department officials discretion to promote from a group of top-scoring candidates. Instead of strictly following test-score rankings, the chief examined each candidate’s work history and asked deputy chiefs and captains about their work in the field. “You’re looking for the person that you believe will make the best supervisor,” police spokesman Don Aaron said. Detective Reggie Miller of the Black Police Association in Nashville said: “It was time for a change in the promotional system. The old system wasn’t working.”