Po­lice, fire re­cruits quizzed about sex lives in ap­pli­ca­tion

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - NATION -

CINCIN­NATI — Po­lice and fire re­cruits in Cincin­nati are be­ing asked about their sex­ual his­tory as part of an at­tempt to eval­u­ate char­ac­ter, ac­cord­ing to records ob­tained by the Cincin­nati En­quirer.

The po­lice and fire ap­pli­ca­tion process in Cincin­nati in­cludes ques­tions about ap­pli­cants’ most un­usual sex acts and how many times they’ve had sex out­doors.

“Have you par­tic­i­pated in a sex­ual act in a pub­lic place?” Cincin­nati po­lice and fire ap­pli­cants are asked in one ques­tion­naire. “Lo­ca­tion(s) and num­ber of times. … Ex­plain each cir­cum­stance.”

Lo­cal po­lice union pres­i­dent Dan Hils told the En­quirer he sup­ports ques­tions that might in­di­cate re­cruits’ “law-break­ing ex­po­sure” but doesn’t see how ques­tions about law­ful, pri­vate mat­ters would be rel­e­vant.

The city said in a state­ment that such in­quiries are a small com­po­nent from a com­pre­hen­sive poly­graph test that is used to “gauge a re­spon­dent’s re­ac­tions and re­sponses to dif­fi­cult ques­tions.”

No dis­crim­i­na­tion law­suits have been filed about the ques­tions, but they “cer­tainly raise eye­brows,” said Mary Turocy, di­rec­tor of pub­lic af­fairs for the Ohio Civil Rights Com­mis­sion. Turocy said that some ques­tions could be prob­lem­atic de­pend­ing on the con­text, but that it boils down to whether they are rel­e­vant to the job.

Neigh­bor­ing com­mu­ni­ties in south­west Ohio also ask ap­pli­cants about sex­ual acts and urges.

Po­lice re­cruits in West Ch­ester Town­ship are asked whether they’ve ever been aroused by fire. Town­ship spokes­woman Barb Wil­son said it is among the ques­tions used to “de­ter­mine their char­ac­ter, moral stan­dards and eth­i­cal de­ci­sion-mak­ing.”

Col­erain Town­ship gen­er­ally lim­its ques­tions about sex­ual ac­tiv­ity to il­le­gal acts, but in­cludes top­ics such as in­fi­delity, Po­lice Chief Mark Den­ney said.

“Our re­spon­si­bil­ity to the com­mu­nity is to learn every­thing about some­one be­fore hand­ing them our badge,” Den­ney said.

Delhi Town­ship’s po­lice re­cruits are asked whether they’ve ever posted or trans­mit­ted naked or sex­ual images of them­selves. Town­ship ad­min­is­tra­tor Jack Cameron told the En­quirer he thinks ques­tions about re­cruits’ sex lives are im­por­tant to the screen­ing process.

Cameron said Delhi Town­ship’s at­tor­ney has re­viewed the ques­tions to make sure ap­pli­cants’ rights are not vi­o­lated.

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