Report: Police Department In Massachusetts Gave Higher Points To Candidates Who Pledged Not To Arrest Fellow Officers For DUI

MethuenPDPatchThere is an interesting story out of Massachusetts where an official at the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission found that the Methuen Police Department admitted that job applicants were given higher scores if they indicated that they would never arrest a fellow officer for drunk driving and other applicants were downgraded for saying that they would apply the law equally to all citizens — officers and non-officers alike.


Christopher C. Bowman, chairman of the Civil Service Commission wrote in a July 9 decision that “the City turned the interview process upside down. There is simply no valid basis to award the highest points to candidates who express a willingness to apply one set of rules to strangers and another set of rules to friends and family members.”

Methuen asked candidates how they would handle a situation in which where they found a driver in a crash who appeared to be intoxicated. The candidate was then asked if the response would change if it involved a relative or a police officer they knew from a neighboring town. The questions are obviously designed to elevate honest officers but was instead used to select dishonest ones. When candidates said they wouldn’t arrest family or fellow officers, the hiring panel noted the person “knows discretion.” Indeed, Bowman said that “Some of the interview panelists actually heaped high praise on those candidates who stated that they would arrest a stranger but not arrest a friend or family member based on the same facts, citing their understanding of ‘discretion.’”

zanni2014_0While Methuen Mayor Stephen N. Zanni (right) said he plans to review the police hiring process and procedures, there was notably no assurance that officials rewarding such pledges to turn a blind eye to crime would be fired. It would seem that this is a fairly good measure of an officer’s inability to serve. The grading officer or officers not only selected candidates based on their professed bias but actively sought officers who would ignore crimes.  That does not seem a matter for better training but rather a fundamental misconception of the role of police in our society by those on the panel of review.  It is not the fitness of the candidates that I am most concerned about but the fitness of the panel members who allegedly gave higher score to those who would show bias in the enforcement of the law.

31 thoughts on “Report: Police Department In Massachusetts Gave Higher Points To Candidates Who Pledged Not To Arrest Fellow Officers For DUI

  1. I live very close to Methuen, about 20 minutes or so, and this comes to no surprise to me. Living in a similar but even smaller town close by, the police around here really do use their power for personal gain. Whether it be covering for each other, using their lights and sirens just to get out of traffic and drive quickly – only to stop at gas stations, restaurants, etc -, and other similar actions. Also, with crime levels being incredibly low where I am, recognized as the safest town in Massachusetts recently, the police have nothing better to do with their time then set up worthless speed traps to catch kids driving 4 miles over the speed limit, or for playing music too loud. While there are many benefits for small town living, the police certainly seems to not be one of them.

  2. Those who are charged w DUI should claim unequal treatment under the 14th amendment.they dont get the same breaks.

  3. Every single person involved in this process should be immediately fired. This is a powerful indicator that they have absolutely no moral compass and are completely unsuited to any role in the justice system. There is no fixing something like this.

  4. I lived in a small town in MA and this is what goes on in almost every small town where many long-time residents and land owners are related or have connections with other families. They have a network and protect each other. Many are scoundrels , con artists, scam artists, etc., but if you are a newcomer, you wont find out until you get robbed or scammed or used. If you let them know that you know, they double up until you want to leave. The DA doesn’t bother with these people. Some are police and he needs their testimony on occasion. In any case, avoid rural America. If you have a mind, you will be bored after two or three years.
    Local history, heard over and over, is a waste of your time, Live where there is a vibrant, smart culture.

  5. and then we wonder why there are so many “bad apples”‘ in law enforcement!

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