The Anne Arundel County Police Department has agreed to hire more women as police officers and to pay $100,000 to 136 women who were rejected for police positions during the last decade, according to a consent agreement filed yesterday in federal court in Baltimore.
U.S. Justice Department officials said the agreement resolves their two-year investigation of sex discrimination in the department, which had been accused of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Under the terms of the settlement, Anne Arundel must stop using a physical strength and agility test to screen applicants for police positions. In addition, the county must recruit women applicants for police positions.
"They must have one woman recruiter and they must advertise for women applicants in newspapers and on television," said John Wilson, a Justice Department spokesman.
Anne Arundel officials could not be reached for comment last night about the settlement. As part of the consent agreement, they denied any discrimination against women.
Wilson said that the Anne Arundel police department now has 464 police officers, 23 of whom are women. He said that police began using the physical strength and agility test in 1974, after dropping minimum height and weight requirements for police officer positions.
But since 1974, the Anne Arundel department has hired 302 men and 20 women, Wilson said. During the last four years, 82 percent of the men given the physical strength and agility test passed, but only 25 percent of the women passed it, Wilson said.
The settlement requires the county to pay $75,000 to 135 women who were denied employment as police officers because they failed the strength and agility test. The other $25,000 will go to Linda Wise, an applicant who was rejected twice by the Anne Arundel force; in 1974 because she could not meet the height and weight minimums and in 1975 when she failed to pass the physical strength test.