There’s not much that’s fun about filling out questionnaires and interviewing for a new job. But the questions that Cincinnati’s police and fire departments ask new recruits might be crossing the line from uncomfortable into invasive.
According to local affiliate Fox19, the question is part of a series about sexual conduct, which includes intimate inquiries such as “Have you ever participated in a sexual act in a public place?” and “Have you ever deliberately inflicted pain on an unwilling partner in a sex act?”
Sgt. Dan Hils, president of the Cincinnati Police Department’s Fraternal Order of Police, told the local network that he understands why questions about illegal sexual activity would be relevant when screening for the job. The “unusual sex act” question, however, does not seem to fall into that category.
“What you do in your own personal and private life is something I don’t think has a whole lot of bearing unless discussing something illegal in nature,” Hils said.
In a statement to the Enquirer, the city defended its application.
“The specific questions mentioned are a small component of a comprehensive questionnaire used during a polygraph exam for prospective recruits,” the statement said. “The polygraph is used to help gauge a respondent’s reactions and responses to difficult questions.”
Other departments in the area also told the paper that their application process includes similar questions, such as whether the person is aroused by fire or if he or she has ever slept with a married co-worker. The heads of those departments said the questions were part of the process that helps reveal “poor decision-making and lack of character.”
Mary Turocy, director of public affairs for the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, said the questions were concerning, though no one has filed a discrimination suit about them.
Still, Hils suggested that the questions be reworked. “Cincinnati could probably refine their questions a bit to still get what they need without offending anybody,” he told Fox19.
Mayor John Cranley agreed. “I don’t think they are appropriate,” the Cincinnati politician said. “I am asking they be dropped.”
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