THE STAR-NEWS - Sunday, August 21, 1977
Others cite instability
Some might hire gays
Heads of three of five area law enforcement agencies say they would not hire a homosexual as an officer - and most cite for support what they contend is a higher instability factor among gays and public opposition to such hiring.
Heads of two other agencies say they consider each applicant on his individual merits and would hire a homosexual if convinced he would make a good officer.
Opposing the practice were National City Police Chief Warren Kanagy, San Diego Chief Bill Kolender and Sheriff John Duffy.
Saying they would not bar a practicing homosexual from employment consideration were Chula Vista Chief Bill Winter and Imperial Beach Chief Ed Spatz.
A SHERIFF'S spokesman also said the department opposed hiring homosexuals because of the control guards have over male prisoners in county jails under that department's jurisdiction.
Taking sexual advantage in that situation was too great a temptation, he said.
All of those who contended the chance of instability was greater among homosexuals said no statistics back their belief.
"I'd like to have some empirical data," sad Kanagy, "but there seems to be none available."
The issue of hiring homosexuals for police work surfaced in the area recently when it was revealed that San Diego police was the only department in that city which actively sought to determine a job applicant's sexual preference.
KOLENDER'S statements at the time that more homosexuals than heterosexuals were unstable angered many members of the local gay community.
"I'm not sure citizens would feel comfortable knowing homosexuals were on the police force," a spokesman for Kolender added.
"We're looking for a stable individual," said Kanagy.
"Often homosexuals exhibit instability."
Kanagy said a homosexual experience at some point in a person's life would not eliminate him as a police candidate.
"There are numerous choices in a person's life that are caused by negative conditions they are exposed to."
BUT, SAID KANAGY, "I would not hire a practicing homosexual."
Like most departments, National City depends on a polygraph test and personal interview to gain information about candidates, including their sexuality.
"We do not hire homosexuals and do not intend to do so," said Jim McCain, spokesman for Duffy.
"We give the same reasons almost any police department would give," said MCCain, who cited instability among them. "plus we run county jail.
"A deputy in county jail has great control over the prisoners in his custody.
"We know the vast majority of the public does not want to be served by gays," he said.
"I don't think homosexuality by itself should be a disqualifying factor," said Winters.
"You need to evaluate a person's entire background."
APPLICANTS are not asked by his department if they are homosexual, said Winters.
A psychological test is given to determine an applicant's emotional maturity" and stability.
"Each case must be decided on an individual basis," said Winters.
"Some homosexuals undoubtedly could make good police officers.
"The important consideration (regarding sexuality) is that a person handle himself in a responsible and mature way."
"I have never actively asked a candidate if he's homosexual," said Spatz, who added, "I will do whatever the law mandates" (in regards to hiring).
"Basically, I'd hire anyone I was convinced could do the job.
"I wouldn't care about his race or if he's green or purple."