Feds: PA police training discriminates women

By Julianne Peixoto

July 30, 2014 Updated Jul 30, 2014 at 11:20 PM EDT

Pennsylvania (WBNG Binghamton) The U.S. Department of Justice is suing Pennsylvania State Police, saying their physical readiness test for applicants discriminates against women.

Many states have different requirements for men and women, including New York. But Pennsylvania does not.

Currently, 98 percent of men and 72 percent of women pass the test, according to figures released by the agency.

"Those numbers sort of prove that it's not an impossible task," said State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. "If you make them [the requirements] too much lower, basically there's no reason to give a test because everybody's gonna pass."

Noonan said the job of being a state trooper is the same for males and females. Therefore, fitness requirements should also be the same.

"It's the same job, and it has to be the same standards," said Noonan. "Lives may depend on our troopers being able to physically remove somebody from an accident, maybe a car that's about to explode, or chase a fugitive, or maybe push a car off the road. We have to have people that are physically able to perform these duties."

Noonan said he's spoken with many female troopers who say they wouldn't want different standards.

"They do not want separate standards for this job, because invariably that would make them second-class troopers," said Noonan. "They take a great deal of pride in the fact that they are a trooper first, and they can do the job just as well as any man."

Noonan said he's spoken with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, and they are committed to seeing the case through to the end.

"I would not want to lower these standards at all," said Noonan. "I think it would put the public in danger. I think if you can't meet these standards, you should work harder. I just think it's a public safety organization, and the safety of the citizens has to come first."

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