GPD chief responds to ACLU lawsuit over Facebook ads

Greensboro News & Record looks at memos written by Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott in reaction to the ACLU complaint that the department’s Facebook recruiting ads discriminated against women:

“Any allegation that women were illegally excluded in the Facebook ad campaign is false,” Scott wrote in the Sept. 21 memo to City Manager David Parrish.

The ACLU also alleged that Greensboro tailored its recruiting ads toward men 25 to 35 years old — also in violation of employment laws designed to protect older people from age discrimination.

Scott didn’t address the age allegations in his memo, but he wrote extensively about how the department used Facebook as a recruiting tool.

He explained that the department broke from its traditional advertising approach in 2017 in favor of a social media
strategy when it hired Spider Digital, a High Point advertising agency, to place ads on Facebook.

“The ad placement was designed to be received and accessed by both women and men on Facebook,” Scott wrote.

Interesting that the age issue came up as well—the Facebook ads targeted men between the ages of 25-35, so what about a guy in his mid-fifties who wants to drop his career as freelance writer and become a cop? Theoretically it could happen–GPD has no age cap on recruits, unlike the NC Highway Patrol (39 years old), the NYPD (35 years old) and the Fort Worth Police Department (44 years old). Are those departments not practicing age discrimination?

Needless to say the above theoretical scenario ain’t happening, which isn’t to say there’s not another middle-aged guy who could handle the training process and the tough first years on the street. But you just don’t see middle-aged guys in police recruiting classes. Perhaps it’s just a demographic trend–the same reason women are the minority in recruiting classes.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...