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Criminal Justice

Hundreds of SF Cops Cleared in State’s Sweeping Review of Psych Exams

Written by Jonah Owen LambPublished Dec. 05, 2022 • 3:05pm
San Francisco police officers are shown on the scene of an investigation in November 2021. | Mike Kuba/The Standard

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Hundreds of officers flagged for potentially failing the psych exams required to become a cop in San Francisco have been cleared after a monthslong review.

The Police Officers Standards and Training (POST)—California’s authority on law enforcement training—put SFPD under the microscope in October as part of a broader review of the psychological tests. 

In San Francisco, that made POST take a second look at the exams of 535 officers hired since 2016—and all passed the test. 

“Our review is complete and there were no irregularities found with SFPD,” POST Spokesperson Meagan Poulos told The Standard.

POST launched the inquiry after it came to light that an Alameda County deputy accused of killing an East Bay couple had failed his psych exam. That led the county to put dozens of sheriff’s deputies on temporary leave because of concerns over their psych exams. 

The review then expanded throughout the Bay Area, to all officers hired since 2016 by every law enforcement agency in San Francisco, Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

SFPD Chief Bill Scott said he wasn’t worried when POST announced its inquiry and the outcome came as no surprise.

No issues were found in POST’s review of 224 San Francisco sheriff’s deputies either.

The POST-mandated exams—a condition of working in law enforcement in California—are designed to ascertain the “presence of a mental or emotional condition” and “psychological stability,” as well as personality traits. Those traits help determine someone’s stress tolerance, impulse control and potential for discriminatory bias.

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Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at [email protected]


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