J. Scott Thomson’s June 21 Outlook essay, “I scrapped my N.J. city’s whole police force. It worked.,” mentioned briefly a tool used to help screen out individuals who shouldn’t be police officers. Mr. Thomson, former Camden police chief, talked about the psychological testing of applicants for police officer positions. However, I don’t hear much about and I see little attention given to the mental screening of potential cops in the current debate about police reform. I do hear, though, a lot about de-escalation training, banning chokeholds, community oversight of the police, an end to qualified immunity, holding officers accountable for misconduct, banning the hiring of cops with a history of serious misconduct elsewhere and defunding the police.

But if we are serious about police reform, a thorough reexamination must be made of the content, quality and validity of the psychological testing administered to applicants to determine whether changes need to be made regarding the tests. The competency and qualifications of the psychologists doing the administering and evaluating must also be reexamined. The testing and psychologists are failing us because too many bad individuals are becoming cops. Let’s stop the “bad apples” at the law enforcement door.

Michael O. Francis, Washington

In his June 20 op-ed, “Police brutality is an old problem. Will we fix it now?,” Colbert I. King asked which way will federal policy go. 

Federal law may limit bad practices but can’t fix problem-ridden departments. New York history offers a more decisive answer to effective policing. The city was the murder capital of the United States until a dramatic drop in violent crime, as well as police killings per population, was achieved by police commissioners Raymond Kelly and William Bratton. Another critical factor was support of police leadership by city government. With first-rate leaders and intelligent support from city authorities, police departments can be turned around. Without these two factors, progress may be hard.

Frank T. Manheim, Fairfax

The writer led a federal work-study research project on crime and policing in Virginia.