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RCMP Pre-Employment Polygraph Examinations Expose! (Read 17648 times)
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RCMP Pre-Employment Polygraph Examinations Expose!
Jul 17th, 2011 at 1:41am
Mark & Quote Quote 
RCMP Pre Employment Polygraph (PEP) Experiences

A friend of mine did a pre-employment polygraph with the RCMP in the past several weeks and he/she was outraged by the whole experience. For those wondering, my friend did “Pass”, but the experience has left my friend shaken and demoralized. This not some bitter or biased story; it is factual and real.  It is also detailed. The following is a composite of experiences, and key details have also been provided by one or two other applicants, all who had direct experience with the polygraph and recruiting process; therefore the information below is not from just a single source.

Here is some information pertaining to how RCMP pre-employment polygraph exams are conducted:

During the instrumentation phase the subject is instructed to close his/her eyes and only think about the question or issue at hand, focusing on it, and nothing else. The subject is sitting 90 degrees to the polygrapher. The subject is also told about the sensor underneath the seat pillow (and how it detects any movements or attempts at trying to cheat the device) and instructed not to move while the questions are being asked and the instrument is running. If the topic of countermeasures is brought up then the examiner briefly states that they are very obvious on the charts, that they don’t work, and that he/she has seen them in the past and can very easily recognize them right away since he/she conducted many tests.

Myth 1: There are no surprise questions asked.

Reality: This is one a total myth. Each question on the booklet that one fills out beforehand (which is publicly accessible as a pdf document on the recruiting website) is actually followed up during the test by several other previously unknown sub-questions (e.g., Have you ever…., How about…, Sometimes people in these situations…). These sub-questions also involve plausible scenarios that are pushed on the applicant in such a sly away as to suggest casualness and even an attitude that such activities are common, normal, and encouraged. In such an environment of questioning (especially when it comes to all sorts of implied scenarios totally out of the blue) someone who may get confused or more easily influenced could easily start to believe that some of these, up to now totally foreign possibilities, might in fact be possible, and maybe somewhere, sometime, might have even happened. Then at the slightest admission of possibility, the interrogator will start to insinuate and probe what previously did not seem to be a big deal at all.  Pretty soon the minor detail is turned over its head, and something previously simple and innocent is turned around and framed as a major activity with menacing intent. Some of the  extra questions asked can also be quite personally offensive and unjustly insinuating.

Myth 2: There are no tricks employed.

Reality: There are many tricks employed. There is no such thing as a “truth verifying question”, “baseline question”, nor is there such a thing as questions used to calibrate the instrument, or any other such made up mumbo-jumbo. The only questions that do not appear in the polygraph booklet that are asked when hooked up to the machine (about 20 minutes towards the end), are either asked as meaningless buffers between real questions, or as additional specific real probes to the real main questions. If the polygrapher suspects that the applicant might be familiar with polygraphy, then all questions (aside from the neutral buffers) will be real questions, and there will be simply an overall comparison made as to which showed the greatest response. The card trick is rigged (as can be inferred by the fact that the cards are special large cards specifically made for the test by the manufacturer of the instrument, and are not in a typical full deck).

Myth3 : There are no trick questions.

Reality: There might be dirty trick questions, especially at the end. For example, if a subject were to repeatedly answer “No” to a drug question, but the polygrapher think that the subject is lying, then questions such as “So when did you really do x drugs…”, or “So when was the last time that you did x drugs…”, “How often did you actually …” might surface at the end when the test is supposedly “over”. Of course, this is a bluff and the examiner will have a smirk on his face hinting that he/she has “figured things out”, that he/she has “caught you” and that you better stop playing games and finally come clean.

The examiner’s sheer silliness will be showcased by the fact that he/she will claim that the polygraph works almost flawlessly each and every time, and that it detects lying with practically close to 100% accuracy (especially when he/she so proudly “detects” the mystery card, which supposedly only the subject is aware of); but his tomfoolery is easily revealed by the fact that he/she will NEVER show you the computer charts, even when stating that “Yes, the charts show very clearly that the card you were holding is….”.  The reason why the test subject is never shown the charts is because the charts don’t show anything, other than random patterns and “supposed reactions”.

Further proof usually comes at the “end” of the interview when the polygrapher might ask such questions as “How come you were so nervous when” (even when at the very beginning it was stipulated that nervousness is normal and expected in many people), “Which questions do you feel that you reacted the most to…the strongest to…(of course after initially claiming that the charts revealed all and were very clear during the card guessing phase), etc.

Myth 4: The examiner is fair and neutral.

Reality: The examiner might use psychologically coercive interrogation methods such as stating that there is a clear lack of information on the initial forms and that he/she expects a lot more to be revealed by the end of the test, as many others have done before.  Other psychologically coercive tactics might be to explicitly state that there are a very limited number of training spots and that the process is very competitive (implying that if he/she doesn’t like that he/she hears, or what he/she doesn’t hear, then it only takes a small negative nudge to make sure one doesn’t make it through the process successfully). Periods of silence will also be used to maximum effect, as well as positive inducers such as “What else…”, “Go on…”, “And…”, followed by more induced silence.

The examiner will also play games by saying such things as “This test is voluntary but so it your job application”, “You don’t have to be here if you don’t want to, do you want to leave?,  “It doesn’t look to me like you are really in the right mood (attitude) for this, would you prefer that we end it now?”, “It’s a long way until lunch, looks like we’re gonna be here for a while”, “Yup, this is going to take a lot longer than I thought”, “Uh huh, it definitely looks like we’re going to be here for a while, etc.” Some of these statements are made almost as quiet statements to himself/herself, which the subject is meant to only casually overhear.

Myth 5: The polygraph is not decisive but only one of many tools in the overall recruiting process.

Reality: This is a misleading half-truth. The polygraph examination does not use any quantitative or automatic scoring criteria. The examiner makes a report based on his/her holistic impression and the interview video is then viewed by a lower ranking recruiter, at recruiting headquarters at a later time, after which, based on the complete applicant file, a recommendation to continue with the process is either made, or a deferral is issued. Note that the Recruiting NCO is of much lower rank than the active duty polygrapher; therefore, it can be obvious how a biased personal opinion from the polygrapher can strongly influence the lower-ranking Recruiting NCO’s further decisions. And the final review and hiring decision is essentially made by the lower-ranking Recruiting NCO (and not by a final review committee as is the case in modern organizations).

Otherwise, the polygraph is used to generate leads for the background investigation and to formulate future schemas for handling the application. The polygrapher will claim that he/she only submits a report and then never hears about an applicant again. In reality, the polygrapher can also personally make a call or send an email to recruiting in order to subjectively express any concerns or opinions about the candidate that he/she may have; information which has nothing to do with the specific questionnaire items that the polygraph was intended for.

In other words, if the polygrapher likes the applicant (in terms of personality and personal background) and no significant admissions are made, then most likely that applicant will go on forward and be successful. If on the other hand the polygrapher takes offence personally with the applicant for whatsoever reason, then the applicant may still go on (assuming no damaging admissions were made); however, the polygrapher will now ensure that the applicant will not be successful during the background or later stages. All the polygrapher has to do in order to make sure an applicant does not make it through successfully to the hiring stage is to personally express his/her concerns about someone in terms of subjective qualities such as personality or cultural fit. This is because all future investigative steps and suitability evaluations are very strongly influenced and coloured by the polygrapher’s initial report/opinions. Therefore, the RCMP pre-employment polygraph is the most biased and subjective phase of the RCMP recruiting process, more akin to a popularity contest, as opposed to any strictly objective method.

Myth 6: The RCMP polygraph interview is very sophisticated and has been perfected over many decades.

Reality: The RCMP only started conducting pre-employment polygraph interviews in 2005 and the polygraph examiner did not have to undergo one as part of his/her initial job application process. The methods used are directly adapted from private American pre-employment polygraph companies, as are most of the guidelines and general procedures. The interviewer is an interrogator by trade, and will be fairly experienced, but he/she relies on surprise, subject inexperience, gullibility, and outright naiveté. Part of the scientific rhetoric spewed by the polygrapher (standard phrases directly from the polygraph instrument manufacturer) actually reminds the critical listener that the instrument was designed with the uneducated hill-billy deep-south criminals in mind; being that what is explained biologically/physiologically is both simplistic and scientifically inaccurate. Some of the things that polygrapher says initially are outright lies, while other preliminary things are in direct contradiction to what is later said or done. Any astute observer who critically listens to what is being said the whole time, will pick up on the contradictions and inconsistencies between the early rhetoric and the later actual procedure. The overall polygraph procedure is fairly crude, and the approaches are rather overt, as opposed to subtle. Some of the interviewer’s line of questioning can be somewhat more skilled and subtle, but only because he/she has done many suspect interviews over many years.

Myth 7: Everything that happens at the polygraph is “classified” and “confidential” and should never be talked to anyone about (this is the prevailing view between applicants).

Reality: The only confidential parts in the recruiting processing cycle from an applicant’s perspective are the RPAT test items and the RMSI interview content; the first two steps in the recruiting cycle.  All the waivers and forms signed during the polygraph interrogation are one sided; they are designed so that the applicant waves away all rights to confidentiality and privacy in all possible contexts, both present and future. The waivers ensure that the RCMP can do whatever it wants with the contents of the polygraph interview (including the audiovideo recording), and also allows it to share any information with any other agency or department that it wishes at any time, while leaving the applicant powerless to do anything about it.  Ironically, it is the applicant who signs away all of his/her rights and privacy during the polygraph exam interrogation.  There are no documents signed that prohibit the applicant from talking about his/her polygraph experience.

The reason for posting this information here is because law-enforcement forums (supported by law enforcement specific advertising and related partnerships) will almost always censor and delete such information, and will supress any public debate about the realities of the RCMP recruiting process (specifically when it comes to the polygraph). And once again, the closed-in mentality of law enforcement applicants (who simply do not know better), prohibits any real public discourse from taking place, and therefore enables non-transparent, nonsensical, non-objective, and discriminatory hiring practices to continue.

Endnote: If this is the organizational culture exhibited during the recruiting process, then one can only guess what the working culture is really like within the organization.  Suffice it to say, my friend was not impressed, and is hoping that other applicants might think twice before jumping so blindly into the proverbial deep end of the recruiting pool. My friend is now considering becoming a teacher and putting her creative skills to better use.
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Paste User Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: RCMP Pre-Employment Polygraph Examinations Expose!
Reply #1 - Jul 17th, 2011 at 3:04am
Mark & Quote Quote 
Thanks for taking the time to prepare and share this detailed review. It's worth noting that Charles Momy, a former head of the RCMP polygraph unit, has publicly come out against polygraph screening:

https://antipolygraph.org/blog/?p=533
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Re: RCMP Pre-Employment Polygraph Examinations Expose!
Reply #2 - Jul 17th, 2011 at 7:36pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
Thank you for an excellent post.

Polygraph screening (applicant, employee reinvestigation, and sexual offender) in the United States is equally offensive and useless.

It is time for some brave soul currently involved or recently involved in the process to stand up and say so.
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Re: RCMP Pre-Employment Polygraph Examinations Expose!
Reply #3 - Jul 21st, 2011 at 4:09pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
I’ve been an avid follower of this forum for some time now, and before I posted anything, I wanted to thank you all for such an open, and educational forum environment!

With regards to this thread:

RCMP Polygraph Test (pre-employment exam) Official Presentation:

http://www.acb.gov.jm/html/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/RCMP-Polygraph-Presentatio...

Contrast this official PowerPoint presentation to the information in this thread. It will become apparent how some of the marketing disinformation purported in the presentation helps to maintain and re-enforce the practical effectiveness and marketing image of the polygraph. If you read the presentation closely, with a critical thinking lens, then you should see that quite a few of the things discussed in the first post of this thread are hinted at and can be surmised and/or deduced.

Sadly, on other forums, where a lot of the members are active law-enforcement personnel, any basic questions about the polygraph by genuinely curious applicants are usually met with intentionally ignorant and derogatory replies.

Below are such examples of how some of the disinformation (whether intentional or not) works when a naive applicant asks a genuine basic question:

Prototypical Question/Response Series 1: “Applying to the RCMP Polygraph testing…Just opening this up for input or experiences (good or bad) with the selection process. Don't bash me on this, i am just curious. Thanks.”

Typical Replies from active law-enforcement forum members:

“Just be honest. It will be worse if you lie, or skirt the subject.”

“Are you retarded? It's a polygraph. It'll catch you lying. What the hell do you think you should do? Lie anyway?”

“Whats the risk? If you did any of the bad things they say you will be charged for, then you should not do it. There is no risk aside from that.
Unless you lie, then your risk is failure...but then you already knew you would fail before going in.”

Prototypical Question/Response Series 2: “I understand, and its all about being truthful. Polygraphs are based on breathing pattern and perspiration, so It's all about in the moment how you respond to the question and how you are mentally thinking about the answer. Therefore it may be difficult for those who feel pressure in that situation more than others, which may result in the polygraph detecting something unusual. In some cases this can even happen while telling the truth.”

Typical Replies from active law-enforcement forum members:

“Polygraph is about more than breathing pattern and perspiration. It picks up on reactions that you don't even realize are going on. Quit reading websites on how to beat the polygraph. It's screwing with your head.”

“And don't they ask you before your RCMP issued polygraph, if you have read up on anyway to alter or deceive the polygraph? List it and deal with whatever the results. They will know if you are being deceptive.”

“Trained professionals.
Do not read Ani-polygraph website.”

“If you were 100% honest when you filled out your RM questionnaire, which you should have been, then you have nothing to worry about. They go over the whole thing with you and then at the end (before the poly) ask if there is anything else that might make you nervous or stressed that you haven't disclosed yet. You have plenty of opportunity to clear up anything you think might show up on the polygraph but if you're not honest - YES they will catch you and YES you will fail!”

“The polygraph operators are highly trained investigators will years of experience under their belts. The polygraph machine itself is merely one tool in their arsenal. They can tell when you're being truthful or deceptive.”
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Re: RCMP Pre-Employment Polygraph Examinations Expose!
Reply #4 - Jul 22nd, 2011 at 4:32pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
Quote:
Sadly, on other forums, where a lot of the members are active law-enforcement personnel, any basic questions about the polygraph by genuinely curious applicants are usually met with intentionally ignorant and derogatory replies.

Did you expect enlightened insight from that bunch? Don't cast your pearls among swine.
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Re: RCMP Pre-Employment Polygraph Examinations Expose!
Reply #5 - Jan 21st, 2012 at 5:36pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
I heard from a close friend that the poly shook him up pretty badly as well. And he is a solid, straight forward guy.

I think the poly is an absolutely ridiculous way to screen potential officers. I was reading an old report on polygraph usage in CSIS (formerly the RCMP Security Service), and I believe it was the Security Intelligence Review Committee that had recommended that CSIS stop using the poly annually.

The poly is a lot more effective if you 'think' it’s going to work. They play some trick on you in the beginning, like making you pick a card or a similar simple ‘magic’ trick, in order to convince you of the mind-reading abilities of the machine. That being said, there is certainly no reason to lie, but even the polygraph's strongest supporters admit there are false positives.

Here is an excerpt from the report, SIRC Annual Report 1990-1991:
“Since our 1985-86 Annual Report, we have inveighed against the use of the polygraph by CSIS to screen potential employees and test the loyalty of serving employees. We have noted the absence of generally accepted scientific studies establishing the validity of polygraph examinations in mass employment and security screening programs. We have pointed out that many defenders of the device admit an error rate of ten per cent or more. We observed the lack of confidence in the use of the polygraph in security screening of the British Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association. Most courts in Canada have ruled against admitting polygraph evidence. The United Kingdom decided not to introduce the polygraph due to problems of inaccuracy and unreliability. The Government of Ontario prohibits such tests in personnel screening.”


Ginton et al., (1982) evaluated the CQT in a field study in which 21 POLICE OFFICERS attending a police course served as participants (unknown to them until the study was completed). Given the opportunity to cheat on an aptitude test, 7 officers cheated while scoring their tests. After a few days, all were told that some of them were suspected of cheating. ALL were asked to take a poly. 2 Guilty Officers and 1 Innocent Officer refused, while 3 more confessed to cheating before the poly. Of the remaining 15, 2 had cheated and 13 had not. Only 1 guilty officer was correctly identified, while 7 out of the 13 innocent officers were correctly identified.


The poly is inconclusive, which is why it isn't admissible in court. However, it is still a good tool for pre-employment screening and criminal investigations, not as means in and of itself, but as a way of eliciting admissions/confessions. The machine is only part of the test, as most poly operators have advanced training in interview techniques and usually have 10-15 years of experience under their belts. Being able to read the machine's output data is one thing...being able to read the PERSON answering the questions that lead up to the hook-up to the machine is quite another.
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Re: RCMP Pre-Employment Polygraph Examinations Expose!
Reply #6 - May 23rd, 2012 at 8:08pm
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If you’ve ever wondered what truly goes on in the inner sanctum of the RCMP polygraphist…  Lips Sealed Undecided


RCMP officer's sexual antics with female colleagues not enough to get him fired

By Jana G. Pruden and Gary Dimmock, Postmedia News - May 23, 2012

A high-ranking Edmonton RCMP officer who exhibited a pattern of inappropriate behaviour over several years — including exposing his penis to a civilian employee, having sex in a polygraph room, and drinking alcohol at work — has been transferred to B.C.

He will remain on the job as a sergeant.

Donald Ray was suspended for 10 days without pay, given a formal reprimand, and demoted one rank from staff sergeant after an anonymous tip sparked an internal RCMP investigation and disciplinary proceedings. At the time of the tip, Ray was the officer in charge of the polygraph unit at the RCMP's Behavioural Sciences Unit.

Speaking to the media at the RCMP's K Division headquarters in Edmonton on Tuesday, Chief Superintendent Marlin Degrand said Ray is working under supervision in his new post, "to ensure that he doesn't continue on with any sorts of activity like this in the future.

"Should that surface, it will be dealt with and it will be dealt with harshly."

Degrand said the RCMP takes the matters "very seriously."

A decision by the RCMP adjudication board obtained by the Ottawa Citizen says victim-impact statements show the incidents caused personal and institutional "wounds" which "will require some time and attention to heal.

"It will take considerable effort to rebuild the damaged trust in our organization in light of the incidents."

Internal Affairs investigators began looking into Ray in August 2009, reviewing seven reports of misconduct which occurred in Edmonton, St. Albert and Red Deer.

Marlin said Ray was put on supervised, administrative duty as soon as the investigation began.

The decision of the three-officer adjudication board found Ray was hosting after-hours parties in his office at K Division, and kept a bar fridge stocked with Budweiser and Appleton Jamaica Rum.

The incident occurred close to the end of one work day in April 2009, when Ray invited his staff to a private office party, and "encouraged his subordinates to sit and have a drink." One woman consumed four beers over two hours. Once the other employees left, the two kissed. Ray then unzipped his pants, exposed himself and asked her to touch his penis. The woman, a civilian employee, refused.

The investigation said Ray exhibited a "disturbing pattern of activity" dating to 2006, when he would book a polygraph suite for lunchtime sex with a female subordinate.

Ray would also sign out unmarked police cars for his sexual encounters, and once had sex in a public parking lot with another female subordinate after a colleague's transfer party.

"A reasonable person would find an off-duty police officer engaging in sexual intercourse in a private vehicle in a public place to be disgraceful," the board wrote.

The adjudication board also found Ray made inappropriate comments to another subordinate employee, including calling her a "hottie" and making comments about her sex life in front of other people.

Ray also had "inappropriate and unprofessional" interactions with prospective female employees, including sending them inappropriate emails, and taking them out for drinks during the hiring process. In one case, he falsified security clearance forms for a woman, exaggerating the number of years she'd known one of her character references.

The discipline board said Ray's conduct "compromised the integrity of the RCMP's hiring process."


Ray admitted to all seven allegations of discreditable conduct, and apologized in writing.

The adjudication board found that "the serial, repetitive nature of the acts" was an aggravating factor, as were Ray's experience and rank.

But the board also noted numerous mitigating factors in Ray's favour, including his previous work record, several letters of support from coworkers, and the officer's "sincere expressions of regret and remorse."

Degrand said RCMP management "in no way, shape or form" condones Ray's behaviour, and that the decision about whether to fire the experienced officer was up to the adjudication board.

"Dismissal was one of the options that the board considered," Degrand said. "I'm not here to substitute my personal beliefs or thoughts or just speculate as to their thought process on that, but the adjudication board considered all of the aggravating as well as mitigating circumstances and in this case, they deemed that this member would receive the highest form of sanction short of dismissal."

Degrand would not say where exactly in B.C. Ray is now stationed. He said the officer is not in a position to deal with cases such as sexual assaults.

Ray's behaviour is the latest in a series of complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination levelled against the RCMP across the country.

A high-profile RCMP veteran, Cpl. Catherine Galliford, ignited the controversy last fall by speaking publicly about her internal allegations of sexual harassment and abuse by former male colleagues.

The complaints prompted an investigation by the RCMP Public Complaints Commission, which has asked for public input into how the Mounties dealt with the allegations. The commission is also considering whether existing force guidelines for dealing with such allegations are adequate.


© Copyright (c) Postmedia News
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