Comments made by Helena-West Helena Police Chief Fred Fielder criticizing the entry level test the Civil Service Commission recently administered to 18 potential candidates for the local police department has raised more than a few eyebrows and sparked the ire of some others.

 

Comments made by Helena-West Helena Police Chief Fred Fielder criticizing the entry level test the Civil Service Commission recently administered to 18 potential candidates for the local police department has raised more than a few eyebrows and sparked the ire of some others.
In a letter to Mayor James Valley, which became public fodder after a couple of copies were submitted to the local newspaper, Fielder expressed his displeasure with the exam.
“The Denver Colorado examination for police officers in no way reflects the education or diversity that represents the Delta where we live and serve. I am shocked that the Civil Service Commission would consider administer such a biased examination to the citizens of the Delta and expect actionable results. This examination is a farce and the Delta folks were programmed to fail,” stated Fielder in the letter.
Civil Service Commission Chairman Will Tate was one of those angered by the chief’s comments.
“I am angered and I am insulted for our community,” stated Tate. “He (Fielder) made it sound like people in the Delta were not capable of passing the exam.”
Fielder’s statement also drew a response from a representative of the firm, CWH Research of Inc. of Lone Tree, Tree Colo., which prepared the exam. Tate presented The Daily World with a copy of a 2-page typewritten letter submitted by John Ford, PhD director of counseling services for CWH Research.
“The Selection-Solutions entry-level Law Enforcement Written Test was developed and validated based on an award-winning job analysis and validation study which involved 10 law enforcement agencies from across the country,” stated Ford.
In a footnote to his letter, Ford stated, “In no way can the Selection Solutions Test be characterized as the ‘Denver, Colorado Model’. The Denver Police Department did not participate in the validation of the test and has never used the test to hire new police officers.”explains
Ford cited at least five communities with demographics similar to Helena that have used the Selection Solutions test. They include: Tuscaloosa, Ala., DeKalb County, Ga., Laurel, Miss., Maple Heights, Ohio and Selma, Ala. He listed nine agencies in communities similar in size to Helena that also used the test. They include: Laurel, Miss., Maple Heights, Ohio, Selma, Ala. Dighton, Mass., Rochester, Mass., Crystal, Minn., Robindale, Minn. Alcoa, Tenn. and Menomonie, Wis.
According to Ford, during the development of the test, a multi-cultural advisory board consisting of eight public safety officials and diversity experts (including two black members, one Hispanic member and an Asian member) provided outside perspectives, reviews and advice. The development process, added Ford, also included several pilot tests.
Ford noted that the results of the process indicated that police officers that score higher on the test perform better as police officers, while those who score lower on the test tend to have lower performance.
 Six of the 18 Helena-West Helena Police applicants passed the exam.