Hot Topic (More than 15 Replies) Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City Hall (Read 21223 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City Hall
Jul 3rd, 2003 at 11:33am
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Birmingham News staff writer Anita Debro reports that the mayor of Irondale, Alabama, has ordered polygraph "testing" at city hall in an article titled "Irondale plans lie detector tests." The following is an excerpt:

Quote:
Irondale Mayor Allen Ramsey is ordering all City Hall employees to undergo a polygraph test to determine who may have leaked confidential police information.

Ramsey said Tuesday night he will submit to the testing and he is also asking members of the Irondale City Council to do the same.

"In leaking confidential police information, those persons are guilty of impeding an active ongoing investigation," Ramsey said.

According to Ramsey, someone made allegations of misconduct in the Irondale Police Department and leaked confidential information to radio talk show hosts Russ and Dee Fine late last week.

The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office is now investigating claims of wrongdoing in the Irondale Police Department.


I've e-mailed the following letter to the editor of the Birmingham News, cc'd it to Mayor Ramsey, the members of  the Irondale city council, and other city officials, and forwarded it to radio talk show hosts Russ and Dee Fine:

Quote:
To: Birmingham News Editor <epage@bhamnews.com>
From: "George W. Maschke" <maschke@antipolygraph.org>
Subject: Polygraph Testing at City Hall
Cc: Mayor@cityofirondale.org, SimpsonBerry@cityofirondale.org, RayJackson@cityofirondale.org, SueMiles@cityofirondale.org, PeteCrye@cityofirondale.org, RonaldBagwell@cityofirondale.org, JackBoone@cityofirondale.org, MichaelMoers@cityofirondale.org, GregMorris@cityofirondale.org, gcox@cityofirondale.org, faye@cityofirondale.org, news@cityofirondale.org, Administrative_Office@12059560950.iddd.tpc.int
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Dear Birmingham News Editor:

Irondale Mayor Allen Ramsey's decision to order a polygraph dragnet at city hall is a mistake (Mayor orders City Hall polygraphs to trace leaks, July 2). Too few people understand how polygraph testing actually works. The dirty little secret behind the "test" is that it actually depends on trickery, not science. The polygrapher, while admonishing the examinee to answer all questions truthfully, secretly assumes that denials in response to certain questions -- called "control" questions -- will be less than truthful.

One commonly used control question is, "Did you ever lie to get out of trouble?" The polygrapher steers the examinee into a denial by suggesting, for example, that anyone who would do so is the same kind of person who would leak confidential information and then lie about it. But secretly, it is assumed that everyone has lied to get out of trouble.

The polygrapher scores the test by comparing physiological reactions to these probable-lie control questions with reactions to relevant questions such as, "Did you leak that information?" If the former reactions are greater, the examinee passes; if the latter are greater, he fails. This simplistic methodology has no grounding in the scientific method.

Polygraph tests also include irrelevant questions like "Is today Wednesday?" The polygrapher falsely explains to the examinee that such questions provide a "baseline for truth," but in reality, they are not scored at all and merely serve as buffers between sets of relevant and control questions.

Investigators value the polygraph because naive and gullible examinees sometimes make disqualifying admissions. But many truthful persons fail the "test." Perversely, the test is biased against the truthful because the more honestly one answers the control questions, and as a consequence feels less stress when answering them, the more likely one is to fail.

Conversely, liars can beat the test by covertly augmenting their physiological reactions to the control questions. This can be done by constricting the anal sphincter muscle, biting the side of the tongue, or merely thinking exciting thoughts. Although polygraphers frequently claim they can detect such countermeasures, no polygrapher has ever demonstrated any ability to do so, and peer-reviewed research indicates that they can't. More detailed information on polygraph countermeasures is freely available on the Internet at www.antipolygraph.org.

George W. Maschke
AntiPolygraph.org


Irondale mayor Allen Ramsey's polygraph decree speaks to the need for passage of a Comprehensive Employee Polygraph Protection Act that would extend to public employees and applicants the same workplace protections against the pseudoscience of polygraphy that other Americans have enjoyed since 1988.
  

George W. Maschke
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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #1 - Jul 3rd, 2003 at 5:03pm
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George

Maybe you should caveat your letters with something to the effect "I took a polygraph examination and failed.  I am a disgruntled FBI applicant." 

Maybe that would lend a little more credibility to your letters.  At least it would be factual.
  
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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #2 - Jul 3rd, 2003 at 5:34pm
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Saidme,

If you think that anything in my letter is counterfactual, or that it should somehow be disregarded on the basis of my own polygraph experience (I was falsely accused of deception during an FBI pre-employment polygraph examination), please explain.
« Last Edit: Jul 3rd, 2003 at 5:57pm by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #3 - Jul 3rd, 2003 at 8:06pm
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In her follow-up story, Debro writes:
Quote:
Ramsey said employees will be interviewed first by the Public Safety Committee comprised of City Attorney Greg Morris and several City Council members. If the committee deems necessary, the employee will be asked to submit to the polygraph.
Do you suppose these interviews will occur before or after Morris and the City Council members have sat for their own polygraphs?
Debro then writes:
Quote:
Ramsey said employees who refuse the polygraph will be cited for insubordination and subject to disciplinary action.

But what will happen to these two?:
Quote:
City Council members Ron Bagwell and Jack Boone said Wednesday they would not take a polygraph test.

  

"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." &&U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis
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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #4 - Jul 3rd, 2003 at 9:55pm
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Here's a more detailed article on the scandal in Irondale:

http://www.postherald.com/me070303.shtml
« Last Edit: Jul 4th, 2003 at 8:40am by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #5 - Jul 3rd, 2003 at 10:32pm
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I can't wait to see the results from the Mayors poly.  I would laugh my A$$ off if he were labelled as deceptive. Problem is the politicians are as deceptive as the polygraphers and they would just sweep the mayors failure under the rug.
  
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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #6 - Jul 3rd, 2003 at 10:35pm
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Politics in small-town America Roll Eyes
  

"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." &&U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis
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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #7 - Jul 4th, 2003 at 9:59am
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I've been in touch with Russ and Dee Fine regarding Mayor Ramsey's planned polygraph hunt for the inconvenient whistleblower.

It seems that Tarrant Police Chief Jesse Sprayberry, who is to conduct the "tests" for $200-a-pop and has already polygraphed some members of the Irondale P.D. (including acting chief Norman Stapp), is a buddy of Mayor Ramsey's. So, apart from the sheer stupidity and obvious impropriety of using an invalid test in an attempt to find and punish a whistleblower, there is also a conflict of interest involved.

Russ Fine mentioned to me that he read my letter to the Birmingham News a couple times on the air Wednesday morning. He also mentioned that Irondale is threatening to charge him and Dee with obstruction of justice!
« Last Edit: Jul 5th, 2003 at 3:04pm by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #8 - Jul 8th, 2003 at 1:53am
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In case you didn't see it, this is from today's Birmingham Post-Herald.
Quote:
The plan for lie-detector tests demanded by Ramsey have been abandoned, said Greg Morris, Irondale city attorney.

The article centers on the son's pending sentence for two armed robbery charges unrelated to the incident involving drugs that sparked the current controversy.
http://www.postherald.com/me070703.shtml
  

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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #9 - Jul 8th, 2003 at 2:50pm
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According to an article by Birmingham News staff writer Anita Debro titled "Investigation continues into leak" (8 July), the Irondale city government has not entirely abandoned the idea of resorting to polygraph interrogations to find the whistleblower who provided the police report to Russ & Dee Fine:

Quote:
Irondale's Public Safety Committee, charged with handling the internal investigation into who leaked information about the drug investigation, has yet to interview any employees or ask any to take a polygraph test as Irondale Mayor Allen Ramsey had suggested.

Ramsey requested last week that City Hall employees be interviewed and given a polygraph test if necessary to find out who gave a police report about the drug investigation to radio talk show hosts Russ and Dee Fine.

City Attorney Greg Morris said no polygraph tests are scheduled for the near future. He denied published reports that the committee has backed off giving the lie detector tests altogether.

"We may have to (ask for a polygraph), but we may not have to," he said. "We are just in the fact-finding stage."

  

George W. Maschke
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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #10 - Jul 10th, 2003 at 1:15am
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All...

Maybe the Mayor of Irondale can hire the polygrapher from the Molly Bish case.... 

I wonder when the DA's office is going to charge all 11 of the suspects in the Molly Bish case who 'failed' the polygraph?

  
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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #11 - Jul 10th, 2003 at 1:23am
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suethem,
There's a good idea. Then the mayor can pick and choose who is actually guilty while excluding any friends who failed under the guise of "false positives".
Interestingly enough, things are mighty quiet up in Warren these days. I think the DA has gone "underground" with his investigation. That probably means they have a strong suspect in mind. We'll see.
  

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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #12 - Jul 10th, 2003 at 4:36am
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Saidme,

You've told this website that you don't believe in pre-employment polygraphs.  You said that you have never done them and you never will! 

Yet, you still are making comments about peoples complaints about their pre-employment polygraphs. 

Why?  If you admit their a waste of time, then why comment?

Its your credibility that suffers when you make mean comments to George or anyone else that has 'failed' a PLCQT, a test that you yourself have not ever given and won't.

I know that polygraphers like to have it both ways, but if the test is not worthy of your time, then commenting on it can't be either.
  
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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #13 - Jul 10th, 2003 at 7:00am
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Suethem,

Note that even polygraphers who don't administer pre-employment polygraph screening examinations nonetheless rely on the probable-lie control question test (PLCQT). This discredited technique, which has no scientific basis whatsoever, is the polygrapher's stock-in-trade.
  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
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Re: Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City H
Reply #14 - Jul 10th, 2003 at 7:04am
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More news regarding the Irondale scandal is available here:

http://www.postherald.com/me070903.shtml

  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
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Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City Hall

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