Normal Topic PD Application Process (Read 2637 times)
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PD Application Process
Dec 2nd, 2001 at 10:23am
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I recently went through the application process of [a mid-sized police department in South Florida] and was very much looking forward to the possibility of employment, until I participated in their polygraph "test".

As a caution to anyone applying, I was only informed after the "test", that for many applicants, it often times takes several attempts and typically only one percent successfully complete the entire background investigation process.

Having never failed a background investigation and being a police offiicer with exceptional credentials, I found myself in a post polygraph interrogation because physiological responses indicated I was "deceptive", according to the examiner who never spoke to me in regards to the results. After declaring my innocence and being offered the opportunity to "talk about what might be bothering me", the thought of conducting a real background check was never mentioned. I remained consistent, but was told that if I couldn't "pass" the polygraph, no further consideration would be given.

A hypothetical situation: If a police department has roughly 400-500 officers and only a very limited number of openings, why would that department advertise nationally offering immediate employment, test every other month processing hundreds if not thousands of applicants from all over the United States, and then subject applicants to a Polygraph proceedure that has been proven repeatedly unreliable and definately not admissible in court proceedings.

Any similiar or supporting suggestions would be appreciated.

« Last Edit: Dec 2nd, 2001 at 12:30pm by Administrator »  
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Re: PD Application Process
Reply #1 - Dec 2nd, 2001 at 12:34pm
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CU4Life,

Please note that a large number of polygraphers and supervisors at law enforcement agencies read this board. Your post was edited to remove the name of the police department in question in order to avoid jeopardizing any appeal you might attempt.

If you disagree with this change, please contact info@antipolygraph.org and your original post will be restored.
  

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Re: PD Application Process
Reply #2 - Dec 2nd, 2001 at 12:43pm
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CU4life,

I am sorry to hear of your experience. Regrettably, what you describe does not surprise me. AntiPolygraph.org has been contacted by a substantial number of law-enforcement officers in your very situation. As matter of fact, false positive polygraph results have been reported to us by numerous current police officers attempting transfer to agencies in Florida.

Quote:
After declaring my innocence and being offered the opportunity to "talk about what might be bothering me", the thought of conducting a real background check was never mentioned.

This is a common ploy used by examiners when attempting to elicit damaging admissions. One should never make any type of admissions in the “post-test” interrogation phase.

Furthermore, despite comments from prominent polygraphers that polygraph screening should never be the sole determining factor in hiring decisions, it often is.

Quote:
As a caution to anyone applying, I was only informed after the "test", that for many applicants, it often times takes several attempts and typically only one percent successfully complete the entire background investigation process.

You may wish to read The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (available free on this site) to learn about how to use polygraph countermeasures to manipulate polygraph “tests” and create passing results. If they will allow you a 2nd chance (some agencies do), you may want to return, equipped with this knowledge.

There are two main reasons why law enforcement agencies are enamored of polygraph screening despite the near universal opposition of academia. First, the polygraph provides powerful leverage for interrogators. Unsophisticated subjects, fearing the "test" will pick up on any hint of deception, often make admissions to the examiner that they would not otherwise make. Those who tell the truth and "fail" anyway are considered acceptable losses. Second, polygraphs “tests” provide bureaucrats with an attractive way to cover themselves in the unavoidable situations where a bad hiring decision is made. Aldrich Ames brought up this very point in his Letter to Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists.

Despite these hollow justifications, polygraph screening is wrong and should be abolished. It falsely accuses 1000s of people each year while deceptive persons who do a minimal amount of research easily pass. I encourage you to defend your reputation from your polygrapher's charges. Write a letter to the chief of the department that rejected you, demanding a “re-test.”

Most importantly, please consider visiting our "Get Involved" page and taking the time to write some prominent representatives to encourage them to repeal the government exemptions to the Employee Polygraph Protection Act. Furthermore, if you are already a Florida resident, I strongly suggest writing your state representatives and your police labor union. Florida appears to be among the 3-4 states where polygraph "screening" (and therefore polygraph abuse) is most prevalent (the others being CA, AZ, and CO). Note that police labor unions in a number of other states have been sucessful in getting legislation abolishing polygraph screening passed.
  
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