City settles DOJ lawsuit about LPD hiring practices

City settles DOJ lawsuit
Published: May. 17, 2016 at 8:31 PM CDT|Updated: May. 17, 2016 at 8:43 PM CDT
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Lt. Ray Mendoza
Lt. Ray Mendoza

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The City of Lubbock has now settled a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The DOJ claimed that written and physical exams for the Lubbock Police Department were unfair to Hispanic and female applicants.

The city settled for $725,000. The DOJ had sought $3 million.

LPD has already made changes to their exams.

They say they started making changes after the Department of Justice made the allegations of discriminatory hiring practices.

Both the City of Lubbock and the DOJ have approved a consent decree.

It states that the Department of Justice first notified the city of its investigation into the LPD's hiring practices in January of 2014.

Now, though the decree states that the City of Lubbock settled, the city does not admit to any wrongdoing.

The decree states that the United States does not allege that the city has intentionally discriminated against any person or group of persons.

"There was no intentional discrimination in these exams or agility test," Lieutenant Ray Mendoza with the LPD, says. "This is something that, obviously, when you look at the numbers, the women were substantially lower rate of passing the physical agility. And, Hispanics were at a very substantial lower rate of passing the written exam."

Mendoza says he wants to ensure the public that everyone involved will still have to take the new exams and pass, in order to move on in the hiring process.

"We are not lowering our standards. They're still going to have to pass these tests," Mendoza says. "And more importantly, they're going to have to go through our rigorous police academy."

He tells us the new written exams include more subjective questions.

"Basically, they go to a test that's an out of the box test, that's an exam that's prepared by a third party vendor business," he said. "They give us the test, we buy it from them and then we implement it here."

Mendoza tells us that they've also made changes to the physical fitness test, by relating the exam to what a police officer is likely to encounter on the job.

The settlement will be set up into two funds.

One will be for $326,250. That will be used to make back pay awards to eligible Hispanic claimants.

While a second one will be used to pay eligible female claimants, totaling $398,750.

The attorney for the City of Lubbock tells us that this decree is not yet formally filed with the court, but, he says it will probably be filed by the end of the month.

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