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NYPD Captain's Exam: The $1,487,100 Question

July 2, 2018

What’s with the NYPD’s captain's exam? That’s the $1,487,100 question.

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD ConfidentialThat’s the figure the de Blasio administration signed up to pay a Virginia consulting firm to review and/or re-evaluate the exam, which was given last November.

According to Captains Endowment Association President Roy Richter, 541 officers filed to take the exam and 480 officers actually sat for it.

Now, eight months later, there still is no list of those who passed.

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard LevittSo what’s causing the delay?

Turns out the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, known as DCAS, signed a three-year contract with Dr. David Morris of the Alexandria, Virginia firm of Morris and McDaniel in 2017, says NYPD Assistant Chief Patrick Conry. On May 15, according to the DCAS website, the city apparently signed a contract with the firm for $1,487,100.

Who and what prompted the review or re-evaluation, no one is saying. But within the department there are grumblings that the firm was hired to examine the validity of various questions on the exam for the purpose of increasing the number of non-white captains.

“I’ve heard those concerns expressed,” said Richter. But, he added, “There is no concrete evidence that this is the case.”

Said Richter: “DCAS hired an expert for a big dollar number. What was the purpose and what was it in response to? They are not giving out the reasons. That has led to a lot of speculation.”

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD ConfidentialHistorically, said Richter, there has always been a conflict between DCAS and respective city agencies. That includes the NYPD.

Said Conry, “This is a DCAS operation. It’s a DCAS issue. Testing is their purview.”

He said he did not know if anyone from the NYPD had prompted the review. Asked if police commissioner Jim O’Neill had signed off on it, Conry said, “I haven’t spoken to the commissioner and I don’t intend to.”

He added that the department was “not in dire need” of new captains. “There are only a single-digit number of openings,” he said. He pointed out that the average time for posting the exam’s results is a year. “We’re within the normal time,” he said.

DCAS spokeswoman Jacqueline Gold declined to answer who made the decision to hire a company to review the exam and why it was felt such a review was necessary.

In an email she said, that Morris's and McDaniel's work with the NYPD “is only one assignment covered by the contract. The company develops several exams for DCAS per year. The $1,487,100 contract does not specify examinations that Morris and McDaniel will develop but instead provides that the contracts will be identified on a need-by-need basis.”

David Morris did not return phone calls to his office in Alexandria, Virginia.

Asked the status of the current exam, Gold said, “We expect to publish the list sometime this summer.”

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