The Problem with Selecting Workers on the Basis of Ability

Michael Froomkin at Discourse.net remarks on the difficulty of selecting workers based on ability:

I very much hope that this news brief oversimplifies the issues in some way, because I would hate to think that — even if it’s legal — a police department was intentionally trying to avoid hiring smart applicants.

The problem he describes:

Judge Dorsey ruled that Mr. Jordan was not denied equal protection because the city of New London applied the same standard to everyone: anyone who scored too high was rejected.

But the bigger problem is:

The city responded that it removed Jordan from consideration because he scored a 33 on the WPT, and that to prevent frequent job turnover caused by hiring overqualified applicants the city only interviewed candidates who scored between 20 and 27.

Does it surprise anyone that police agencies face high turnover when workers see better opportunities relative to the pay and work hours of their current job?