Five Richfield police officers have sued the city in Hennepin County District Court, claiming that they were denied promotions and special assignments because of their age.

The four men and one woman between the ages of 44 and 54 years old claim that the city has changed the standards for promotion and assignments in the last two years and that older officers are being shut out of those jobs.

The suit says nine of 10 “special assignment” positions have gone to officers who are much younger than 40.

The suit alleges that standards for promotion to sergeant and the process for selecting detectives was changed after a new police chief was named in 2012. It also claims that an officer with 19 years in the department who sought training as a hostage negotiator was not interviewed and the job went to an officer with less than two years’ experience.

In another case, the suit says a veteran officer was the only applicant for a posted job in crime prevention, a position that had existed for at least 20 years. The suit says the posting was closed and the officer was told the department would not be filling the position.

The suit also claims violations of the Minnesota Human Rights Act and a hostile work environment.

The officers are Greg Peterson, 51; Souphany Dean, 44; Brian Rogge, 47; Michael Sieve, 45, and Jeff Hatzenbeller, 54.

Mary Jane Smetanka