Normal Topic Failed Positive?!? (Read 10357 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Nate (Guest)
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Failed Positive?!?
Dec 13th, 2000 at 8:06pm
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I recently took a test for a police department in Kansas.  I believe in honesty and upholding the law.  Therefor I told them EVERYTHING that I ever did.  The worst thing I did was steal money from my fist job when I was 16.  I was told that they would not hold that against me and went ahead and hired a polygrapher.  This means I could have recieved a job if I passed the polygraph.   
Well the polygraph came out that I lied on a question.  The question was "Besides when you where 16, have you ever stole any more money from an employeer".  I answered no which was the truth. It said I lied but what's really wierd is that none of my jobs after that one dealt with money?  I worked the campus police department, loss prevention, private investigator, jailer, and I'm currently a probation officer. I believe I failed because the question was about something I did that I feel guilty and nervous about. 
Needless to say my application was stopped when they found out I failed the polygraph.  I'm only 23 and have a BS in Criminal Justice (with high honors) and I have always wanted to be a police officer.  I don't have anything on my record, not even a speeding ticket!!! Now all the police departments refer me too the same polgraph company that failed me, so or course he's going to fail me again because it will make him look unprofessional if he doesn't come out with the same results.  What should I do???
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George Maschke (Guest)
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Re: Failed Positive?!?
Reply #1 - Dec 13th, 2000 at 11:37pm
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Nate,

You should vigorously protest the polygrapher's opinion in writing, and demand that your application be re-instated.

Unfortunately, your polygrapher's accusation may follow you, as departments often share information, and a false positive outcome can have long-term adverse career consequences. So it's important that you protest in writing. Even if they ignore you (as they probably will), you will have documented your rejection of the polygrapher's accusation. If you remain silent, it will be interpreted as an admission of sorts.

See Chapter 5 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector for more detailed information on steps you can take to help protect your reputation.

By all means, you should write a detailed memorandum for record about your experience with the polygrapher, while it's fresh in your memory.
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Mr. Pass
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I passed
Reply #2 - Dec 16th, 2000 at 5:03am
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Before I took the hiring polygraph for a western USA sheriff's office I read youtr printed material on the test and counter measures. I found out today that I was hired. Thanks for your help.

About 5 yrs ago, I took one for CT State and I'll tell you that the poly administrator was tough on me, needless to say I wasn't hired. It's not that I hid anything or I was a criminal or druggy, I told the truth and wasn't good enough for them
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Gino J. Scalabrini (Guest)
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Re: Failed Positive?!?
Reply #3 - Dec 17th, 2000 at 1:05pm
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"Mr. Pass,"

Thanks so much for your kind words.  All we ask is that you share the information contained in our book with others.

Also, please consider spending 10 minutes and writing a few letters to major senators (and your own reps) requesting that a new Employee Polygraph Protection Act with NO LOOPHOLES be enacted.  A new EPPA is our best hope to end polygraph abuse once and for all.

A sample letter (feel free to cut and paste) and addresses are available on our "Get Involved" page at:
http://www.antipolygraph.org/get.shtml

Best,
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Tom
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Re: Failed Positive?!?
Reply #4 - Dec 19th, 2000 at 11:48pm
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Maybe someone can help me understand the situation better. I was under the impression that a question which began with "besides..." or "other than..." were control questions. If I'm not mistaken, the testee should show a reaction to control questions. If the examiner said you were lying, what reaction was he looking for on this, a peak or no change at all.
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George Maschke (Guest)
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Re: Failed Positive?!?
Reply #5 - Dec 20th, 2000 at 7:33am
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[quote]Maybe someone can help me understand the situation better. I was under the impression that a question which began with "besides..." or "other than..." were control questions. If I'm not mistaken, the testee should show a reaction to control questions. If the examiner said you were lying, what reaction was he looking for on this, a peak or no change at all.
[/quote]

That's right. Because many (if not most) people make at least some minor admissons regarding the "control" questions, these questions are frequently re-worded such that "Did you ever steal from an employer?" becomes "Since you were 16, did you ever steal from an employer?" if the subject admitted stealing from his employer when he was 16.

The question with regard to which Nate has been accused of deception is one of the most commonly-used "control" questions, so this is really rather puzzling.

One possible explanation is that the police department in question was using the old relevant/irrelevant (R/I) format. In this format, as the name suggests, there are only relevant and irrelevant questions, †and in this context, the question "Since you were 16, did you steal from an employer?" would be a relevant question.

Although the R/I format is discredited even in the polygraph community, I understand that there are places where it is still used. The R/I technique is still taught at the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute.


  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Shropshire Lad (Guest)
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Re: Failed Positive?!?
Reply #6 - Dec 20th, 2000 at 4:29pm
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  Nate's situation, in addition to being personally tragic for him, highlights for us one of many flaws of control question test polygraphy as applied to personnel/applicant screening.  As pointed out by others, in a criminal specific polygraph test, a polygraph question which begins with a modifier (e.g., "Prior to the age of 18.....", "While in high school......", or  "Other than what you have told me......") and does not refer to a specific act ("Have you ever stolen from an employer?" as opposed to one which does, e.g. "Did you steal that money from John's desk?) is generally a control question.

    In a screening application test, because there is no knowledge of a specific act having been committed, i.e., a fishing expedition, there will be no questions referring to specific acts.  This means that, in a screening test, all relevant questions (and subject areas) are very similar to the control questions/subject areas in a criminal specific issue test and in fact very similar to control areas within the given screening test (the latter, i.e., screening controls just not of interest or relevance to the party administering the test).  Even in terms of their (polygraphers that is) own theory about how a control question test works (relationship between control/comparison and relevant questions), this makes for a very messy test.  This is not to suggest that their theory is correct for criminal specific tests (it is not), but just  to point out how nonsensical it is when applied to screening tests.

   The bottom line to all of this is that, because theft is a subject area which is commonly addressed in a polygraph screening test, in spite of the structure of the question and based on the previous discussion, I would suspect that the polygraph question under discussion was in fact a relevant question.
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George Maschke (Guest)
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Re: Failed Positive?!?
Reply #7 - Dec 20th, 2000 at 6:30pm
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Shropshire Lad concluded:
[quote]...I would suspect that the polygraph question under discussion was in fact a relevant question. [/quote]
I think Shropshire Lad's suggestion makes more sense than my speculation that a relevant/irrelevant format might have been used.

Gino Scalabrini wrote me privately pointing out that the question Nate was accused of answering deceptively was, "Besides when you where 16, have you ever stolen any more [b]money[/b] from an employer?" (emphasis added).

This is significant, because, to the best of my knowledge, when a question about stealing from an employer is used as a "control" question in a pre-employment polygraph screening "test," it generally does not specifically refer to "money" or any given commodity, but rather is more general, like, "Did you ever steal anything from an employer?" or, "Did you ever steal anything of value from an employer?"


  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Nate (Guest)
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Re: Failed Positive?!?
Reply #8 - Dec 20th, 2000 at 7:24pm
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I'd like to correct what I said earlier.  After thinking back on the question that I was asked.  It was, "Besides when you where 16, have you stolen anything of more than xxx value from an employer?"  You were correct in thinking he did not say "money" but of "value".  I spoke to the personel office recently and they said that my application was just stopped but that I was not disqualified???  I asked them why I was stopped because two of my best friends got on the same department and they have no college degrees and no prior working experience at all, just warm bodies.  The personel office actually told me what questions I lied on.  The other question was "are you currently involved in any criminal activity?".  IM A F?#@*@! probation officer!!!  I'm not a drug dealer!  She said I can re-apply in the future.  I thought it was wierd that they didn't "disqualify" me but just "stopped my application process" (seems like a legal tactic to me).  She said that when I apply again that I should request to take the polygraph over again but this seems stupid because of course the polygraph examiner is going to say I'm lying again or it will make him look stupid.  What should I do?
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Mr. D.
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Re: Failed Positive?!?
Reply #9 - Dec 24th, 2000 at 7:42am
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Nate, use countermeasures. Try and keep a straight face, and then get the job. 

Good Luck!
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Mr. Truth
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Re: Failed Positive?!?
Reply #10 - Dec 29th, 2000 at 7:52am
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Probation officer who graduated with "high honors?"

1) Weird, not wierd, is the word you are trying to spell but can't.

2) Probation officer who failed a polygraph test when you were telling the truth?  Go ask a sex offender who is on probation how he feels about being scored deceptive on a monitoring exam when he told the truth.  I know, because I am one.  I screwed up, but I am not a screw up - there's a difference.  I'm sure now you can appreciate how infuriating it is to be "told" you are lying when you know you told the truth.
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Nate (Guest)
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Re: Failed Positive?!?
Reply #11 - Jan 3rd, 2001 at 5:29pm
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Itís obvious that you are upset at probation officers or would not have pointed out a common typing error.  If I knew I was being judged on my accuracy of typing then I would have done better for you.  Just because Iím a probation officer doesnít mean that you are guilty of a crime.  It does mean that someone adjudicated you as a sex offender, but that does not mean you canít be innocent.    I know I have offenders that have pleaded to the day they die that they where innocent and I actually believe some of them, reason being is because they where the best clients I ever had.  So words of wisdom, me being a probation officer has nothing to do with you being adjudicated, I am just doing a job that a judge ordered me to do.  Try pointing a finger a someone else.  Also, I graduated with a 3.8 in Criminal Justice and even I can make mistakes like typing errors so this shows that if I'm not perfect than probably the damn polygraph test can falter too.
  
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