Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall is taking a “three-week study break” to prepare for the state exam she needs to pass to put on a police uniform. Since Hall arrived from Detroit last year, she has appeared in civilian clothing while readying to take what is by most accounts a fairly difficult test to be certified as a peace officer in the state of Texas. This was the source of much hand-wringing and conspiracy theory-mongering on social media, which subsequently led to much hand-holding and explaining in the more traditional media. It’s all very silly.
The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement’s licensing exam, often known as the TCOLE test or some variation thereof, is essentially the SAT for Texas cops, with more than 250 multiple choice questions on crime and punishment, fitness, and state law. It’s tricky enough that former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who had to take the test because she worked in federal law enforcement before being elected sheriff, failed on her first go. (You get three attempts.) A study guide for the test goes for more than $62 on Amazon.
So just how hard is this test? For an extremely imprecise estimation of just that, there are a bunch of sample questions listed here on Quizlet, a study-aid website that lets you see the questions as flash cards, and includes a function that allows you to test yourself. This is obviously flawed, as many of the multiple choice answers it serves up for a given question sometimes have nothing to do with each other. Still, pretty interesting. Give it a whirl yourself.
Please report your findings below in our comments section, which we cherish and value as a source of reader feedback and a forum for respectful discussion. I’ll start: I got 40 percent of the questions right using the “test” function on Quizlet.