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Nassau police exam, using iPads, arrives in the 21st century

Nassau Civil Service Commissioner Gary Ackerman praised the

Nassau Civil Service Commissioner Gary Ackerman praised the commission's use of hundreds of Apple iPads to conduct a recent police entrance exam. Credit: John Griffin

The Nassau Civil Service Commission moved into the 21st century last month by having hundreds of hopeful police candidates take this year’s entrance exam on rented iPads.

The county comptroller’s office reports that the Civil Service Commission rented 500 Apple iPads from Hauppage-based Rent-A-PC, Inc., doing business as Smartsource, from Jan. 13 through 27, for a total cost of $38,025, including delivery and pickup.

Former Rep. Gary Ackerman, one of the three county Civil Service commissioners, said executive director Karl Kampe brought the proposal to use iPads to the commission.

“We thought it was fantastic,” Ackerman said. “It brings us into the age of all the new methodology and equipment that the younger people know how to handle more than they know how to handle pencil and papers.”

He also said using iPads cost less, both in administering the tests and scoring them.

Ackerman said he had been concerned about security. But he said the iPads were programmed so applicants could not access anything but the test. Questions also were randomized so applicants sitting next to each other were not given the same questions in the same order.

Neither Kampe nor a spokesman for County Executive Laura Curran responded to questions asking the number of applicants taking the test, how many days it was given and when the results will be posted.

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