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George W. Maschke
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LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Jun 18th, 2001 at 11:39pm
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In a message thread titled LAPD Polygraph in the Share Your Polygraph Experience forum, the discussion turned to, among other things, publicly documenting the City of Los Angeles' polygraph policies with regard to public safety employees.

The purpose of this thread is to help focus discussion on such documentation (and ending polygraph screening in the City of Los Angeles).

AMM, I respect your desire to remain anonymous until such time as your appeal has been processed. For you to submit a request for documentation under the California Public Records Act (CPRA) could conceivably lead to retaliation against you, and I'll be happy to make the request myself. Could you provide the mailing address for Phyllis Lynes (the head of the Public Safety Employment Division)? I'm guessing that she would be the appropriate person from whom to request a copy of the polygraph waiver/consent form that LAPD applicants are required to sign.

With regard to the city's polygraph policy itself, I've found some documentation of it in the minutes of the Board of Civil Service Commissioners for 12 January 2001. It was at this meeting that the Commissioners gave 21 days advance notice of their planned polygraph policy change. The minutes for that meeting (and other recent meetings) may be downloaded in PDF format at:

http://www.lacity.org/PER/minutes.htm

The following is an excerpt of the portion of the minutes for 12 January 2001 that concern the polygraph:
Quote:
COMMISSION ACTION:

21 DAYS¡¯ NOTICE OF INTENTION GIVEN.

2. Pre-Employment Polygraph Examination for Entry-Level Police Officer and Police Specialist Candidates - Policy 1.13
Consideration of:

a. Giving 21 Days¡¯ Notice of Intention to revise Policy 1.13 of the Policies of the Personnel Department to include a polygraph examination for all entry-level Police Officer and Police Specialist applicants;

b. Implementing the administration of polygraph examinations to all Police Officer and Police Specialist applicants effective February 12, 2001;

c. Delegating to the General Manager the authority to make the final decision on background disqualification appeals based on polygraph examination results that were either deceptive, or inconclusive due to the use of counter-measures, or the candidate failed to cooperate during the course of the examination.

NEW BUSINESS 1-12-01

2. Pre-Employment Polygraph Examination for Entry-Level Police Officer and Police Specialist Candidates - Policy 1.13

d. Deleting from Policy 1.13 reference to the use of independent polygraph examinations.

Note: This matter is considered routine for the purpose of giving 21 days¡¯ notice, but will be considered as non-routine when returned to the Agenda after 21 days¡¯ notice.

File No. 50268


Based on the above, the polygraph policy governing LAPD is contained in "Policy 1.13 of the Policies of the Personnel Department." This seems like something that should be obtainable. AMM, do you have any ideas on how to go about this? Perhaps a formal request under the CPRA won't be necessary.

In addition, I've discovered that the Board of Civil Service Commissioners holds regular public meetings, and during the first 10 minutes, members of the public are invited to address the Board on topics not on the agenda, with individual speakers being limited to 10 minutes each. If one or several of us could appear in person, it would be an effective way of getting the message across that polygraphy is junk science, biased against the truthful, yet easily defeated by liars. (I would love to address the board in person, but it's not practical, as I live and work in Holland now. I will write a letter to the Board, however!)

For any who can make it, the next meeting of the Board of Civil Service Commissioners is scheduled for Thursday, 28 June 2001 at 0830 hrs. at:

Civil Service Commission Board Room
Room 350
Personnel Building
700 East Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012


The agenda for this next meeting has not yet been posted, but should become available on the Board's webpage at:

http://www.lacity.org/PER/CIVIL.htm
« Last Edit: Oct 16th, 2001 at 8:40am by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #1 - Jun 19th, 2001 at 8:26pm
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George,

The address for Phyllis Lynes is:

Phyllis M. Lynes
Chief, Public Safety Empolyment Division
700 E. Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Personnel Department General Manager is Margaret Whelan, and she can be reached at the same address.  I would cc her on all correspondence.  That way, she can't deny anything.

I reviewed the Civil Service Commission minutes you cited.  The lack of an appeal process is strange since the Commission minutes allude to one. [c. Delegating to the General Manager the authority to make the final decision on background disqualification appeals based on polygraph examination results that were either deceptive, or inconclusive due to the use of counter-measures, or the candidate failed to cooperate during the course of the examination.] I asked the Commision's assistant about this, and she said the Commission has removed themselves from hearing appeals and delegated its authority to Personnel.

The LA Weekly article listed in another thread mentioned the ACLU had some concerns regarding the City's polygraph policy.  I've never been a big fan of theirs, but maybe contacting them is another option for anyone falsely accused.  They're chock full of lawyers who like to sue.

Another option might be to send a letter to the LA Times. They love to hate the LAPD and never seem to miss an opportunity to give them a black eye.  I called a reporter who had written a story regarding poor LAPD recruitment, but he didn't seem real interested.  I told him it was extremely ironic the LAPD/City has enthusiastically endorsed polygraphs at the same time the Senate was questioning the polygraph's utility/validity.  Who knows, maybe they'll come around.

AMM

  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #2 - Jun 20th, 2001 at 2:46am
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AMM wrote on Jun 19th, 2001 at 8:26pm:
Another option might be to send a letter to the LA Times. They love to hate the LAPD and never seem to miss an opportunity to give them a black eye.  I called a reporter who had written a story regarding poor LAPD recruitment, but he didn't seem real interested.  I told him it was extremely ironic the LAPD/City has enthusiastically endorsed polygraphs at the same time the Senate was questioning the polygraph's utility/validity.  Who knows, maybe they'll come around.



AMM

Find another reporter that may express interest in your story. I agree with your statement, However, polygraph still seems to be a hands-off issue for The Times. In your case and providing the information you have with names and all, There should be a reporter that will listen and then make a decision.

Another suggestion would be to talk to the LA Weekly, They may show interest and rattle some cages. There also is the Daily News and smaller community newspapers. The Long Beach Press-Telegram could have someone who will take your story too(especially if you live in the Long Beach/South Bay area).



Keep up the great work!!!!

Fred F.  Wink
  
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George W. Maschke
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #3 - Jun 20th, 2001 at 11:53pm
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AMM wrote on Jun 19th, 2001 at 8:26pm:
George,

The address for Phyllis Lynes is:

Phyllis M. Lynes
Chief, Public Safety Empolyment Division
700 E. Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Personnel Department General Manager is Margaret Whelan, and she can be reached at the same address. ÊI would cc her on all correspondence. ÊThat way, she can't deny anything.

AMM,

Thanks! I will cc Margaret Whelan, too. Would you happen to happen to have, or be able to find, fax numbers for both Phyllis Lynes and Margaret Whelan? If possible, I'd prefer to fax my CPRA request(s), as it will be both faster and cheaper than sending them by registered, return-receipt mail.

I think your idea of contacting the ACLU is a good one. Shortly after the LA Weekly article came out in March, I contacted Christopher Calhoun <ccalhoun@aclu-sc.org>, the ACLU of Southern California representative mentioned in the article, to ask if his group had issued any statement on the LAPD polygraph policy; he said it hadn't.

It would be a good thing for all concerned to contact the ACLU of Southern California to keep the polygraph issue on their radar screen. Contact information for local chapters is available on their website here:

http://www.aclu-sc.org/chapters.html
  

George W. Maschke
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #4 - Jun 21st, 2001 at 8:46pm
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George,

Getting their fax numbers might be difficult right now.  They're working my appeal and it might look a little suspicious.  I hope their abysmal recruitment rate will work in my favor.  I will post them if I can get them without attracting any attention.

Recently, I received a response from a consultant working for my State Senator.  He forwarded my letter to the Senate's Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.  I left him a message asking if I should address a new letter to the Chairman directly, but haven't received a response.  At least they're going through the motions rather than sending my letter to the circular file.

AMM
  
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George W. Maschke
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #5 - Jun 21st, 2001 at 11:27pm
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AMM,

If you can obtain the fax number(s) discreetly, that would be great. (I wonder if there is a switchboard operator who could provide this information?)

With regard to the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee chairman, Senator Richard Alarcon, I think it would be prudent for you to take the initiative and contact him directly. As his district is in the San Fernando Valley, he should take a special interest in the LAPD polygraph program.

You may be aware that Sen. Alarcon sponsored a bill last year that would have required all employment-related polygraph examinations in the state be videotaped. The bill made it through both the Senate and the Assembly only to be vetoed by Governor Davis. I think we need to seek more ambitious polygraph reform: a total ban similar to that which has been on the books in Minnesota for years. See the Let's Stop Lie Detector "Testing" in California! thread for details.
  

George W. Maschke
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #6 - Jun 28th, 2001 at 1:04am
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George,

Yesterday, I researched the Bill (SB 1854) Senator Alarcon sponsored last year to videotape all pre-employment polygraphs and found Governor Davis’ veto justification very weak.  If you haven’t seen it, he noted that: “hiring decisions for state employees are not based solely on [lie detector] results.”  While I’m sure the Governor actually believes this, those rooted in reality know different.  Subsequently, I mailed Senator Alarcon a letter asking that he initiate new legislation to ban all pre-employment polygraphs, personally research polygraph validity, and investigate LAPD polygraph policy.

I received some feedback from my State Senator’s office yesterday.  According to his consultant, he may be interested in closing the government polygraph loophole, but was leery of initiating anything during the current session.  The reason being is he is sponsoring gun control legislation that is sure to ruffle a lot of police officers (voters) feathers.  He mentioned that a consultant from the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee pointed out that legislation closing the polygraph loophole for government would have every city and police chief crying to the Governor.  He also said he recognized police officers can’t be compelled to take a polygraph, so removing employment conditional polygraphs was a good idea.

I mentioned they should review the April 25, 2001 Senate Judiciary Committee testimony and pending federal lawsuit for some good background information.  I also mentioned that they should contact state senators in Minnesota to see how their law was working.  I hope they will.  No luck on any fax numbers; my appeal is still under consideration and I’m limiting my calls to the City right now.  

If anyone has experienced similar problems with the LAPD polygraph policy, please post your experiences anonymously.  The more people who do, the better the chance we have to end it.

AMM


  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #7 - Jun 29th, 2001 at 1:24am
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Hello
My son took a poly for LAPD about 4 months ago, and as usual in this process has not been notified as to the results.  The Dept. seems to move at a snails pace during the entire process. It expects you the applicant to JUMP at each request.  This is just the most recent in the frustrating process of trying to join this "in need of Officers" Dept. 
He scored a 95 on his oral, ------and passed all of the pre- employment tests in fine shape.  There was a question during the background that required some additional documentry edivence,  which put him into the apeal process but Roll Eyes after they received that information they called him to ask him to take a poly.  He "jumped" and changed his entire schedule to be there when he was requested to be. And that was almost 4 months ago.  Every day he checks the mail, every day there is not a word form the Dept.  How long can this take????????
I wish you all the best of luck in dealing with this horrible process.  Please keep trying, the LAPD needs GOOD, HONEST, RESPECTABLE, officers.
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #8 - Jun 29th, 2001 at 4:08am
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A Mom,

Your son needs to contact his background investigator ASAP. If that much time has passed with no contact he needs to initiate it. The investigator may provide answers that you need

Good Luck

Fred F. Wink
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #9 - Jun 29th, 2001 at 9:18am
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Dear Fred
Thanks for the advise but, once you are in the apeal process LAPD and your background investigator will no longer talk to you, you are in Public Safetys hands.  And unfortunatly Public Safety moves with the same snails pace as LAPD. Background Investigators. 

Not to mention any time you try to call either of these places you are promised a call back and this call back never seems to happen.  The only time you are contacted is when they want something from you, and then they expect you to jump!!!

This whole situation (process) has been very frustrating for my son and our entire family.  This is a good young person who thought that becoming a Police Officer was a respectful job and would afford him the opportunity to try and make a difference.  Seems like that is not the type of young officer they are currently looking for Cry  Sad but true Undecided
Thank you again
Mom
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #10 - Jun 29th, 2001 at 8:40pm
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A Mom,

I'm very sorry to hear about your son's predicament.  I'm extremely sympathetic, since I'm in a similar situation. Being extremely naive about polygraphy, I thought all I had to do was go in, tell the truth, and get ready for the academy.  Not true. I took my polygraph and was told I didn't pass.  I now know the examiner was lying to me. He was on a fishing expedition and turned any explanations as to why I may have reacted strongly against me.  Ultimately, I was told that I had actually passed.

Was your son told he failed?  Was his appeal officially granted?
I am currently in the appeal process because of an unitentional ommission that came to light during the polygraph.  I have been extremely lucky in that I've maintained contact with my background investigator throughout the process.  I can't say enough good things about him.  I recommend that your son contact Phyllis Lynes who is the Chief of Public Safety Employment Division at 213-847-9717.  He should also write a letter to Margaret Whelan, General Manager, Personnel Department asking the status of his application.  He has to be in the driver's seat on this. If they tell him that he failed his poly, he shouldn't take it lying down.  Have  him write every councilmember who sits on the Public Safety Committe.  If you need more info, post your email and I will send you what I have.

Good Luck,

AMM


  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #11 - Jun 29th, 2001 at 9:28pm
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AMM,

Regarding the fax number(s) for Phyllis Lynes and Margaret Whelan, no problem. I'll send the Public Records Act request I have in mind via priority mail instead. I'll also be sending a similar request to LASD, and both requests will appear on the AntiPolygraph.org FOIA page.

It's very good that you wrote to Senator Alarcon regarding introduction of a new antipolygraph bill. I'll do the same (I believe I e-mailed his office long ago about this, but don't believe I ever heard back). I think it's important that in addition to pre-employment polygraph and CVSA screening, all employment-related lie detector testing be proscribed. This proscription should include even asking a public employee to submit to a lie detector test in the course of an internal affairs or other administrative investigation, because it is unfairly prejudicial to the employee who asserts his/her legal right (under California law) to refuse to submit.

You might remind your state senator who is wary of sponsoring an antipolygraph bill this year that there are presumably many more Californian voters who have been wrongly branded liars by the polygraph than there are those who happen to be chiefs of police. It will be very difficult for polygraph proponents to effectively argue against a workplace polygraph ban (at least publicly), because when people learn the truth about polygraphy (as many will when there is public debate over an antipolygraph bill), they overwhelmingly reject it.
  

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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #12 - Jun 29th, 2001 at 10:12pm
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Dear AMM
Thank you for your kind words.  I am so sorry that you too are in this "waiting position". Cry Cry  A far a my sons poly the examinator told my son that the test "might" be inconclusive - nothing more.  He was called in a grilled on one topic and one topic only.  This is the topic that I wrote about before where he was able to prove that there was no question whatsoever as to his telling the truth about the circumstances.  He had many letters and documents showing that it was a mis-understanding that was resolved years ago.  The situation was involving a past employer and some things that were purchased  by that employer that they had not paid for.  The employer was the type of person who was, and is typically a bad business person and always taking advantage of people and not paying her bills. The amount of these items was just over $100.00.  The amount is really not the issue as even 1 cent verses your honor should make anyone fight for honor.  My son at the time of the problem had to hire a lawyer to write a letter and explain to the creditor that the "Employer" ordered and used the items. Needless to say the lawyer cost more than the original un-paid amount.  He also provided a shipping reciept that showed that these items were ordered by and shipped to his employer.  All of this was provided to both Public Safety and LAPD.  And in a timely mannor.  If I recall  correctly he hand walked these to both places the day after they were requested.  To be perfectly honest he delivered or called in with any information requested all thru the process within hours of any request.
Yet, now he sits and waits for some information from anyone regarding his status.  I will never understand how Public Safety and LAPD can move at such a slow pace.  I only wish they would consider the pressure they place on young applicants who just want to know where they stand in the process. 
My son has a background that honors the up-bringing that my husband and I have provided.  He has NEVER touched drugs, NEVER been in trouble in any way, and is a well respected young person in our community.  He is kind, well spoken, smart, and a compassionate person.  He could make a difference if given the chance.  I am sad for him as this whole process has made him question himself Cry And he should instead, be proud of the man he is, as he has led a respectful life.  I will forever be sad as I encouraged him to apply.  And now I feel that I encouraged him to go into a process that is currently broken and in great need of repair ??? My sons HONOR is very important to him - and this entire process has chipped away at it.  I now must continue to remind him that sometimes in life GOD moves in odd ways and maybe this time he should Thank God for unanswered prayers Roll Eyes Maybe life has something very special for him and he can " " in some other profession.
Take care and good luck to you!
A Mom
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #13 - Jun 30th, 2001 at 1:51am
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A Mom,

According to my background investigator, if your son's polygraph was inconclusive, he should be scheduled for another.  I know how frustrating this is for both of you.  I felt lower than dirt after my polygraph.

New committee assignments for LA City councilmembers are set for July 1st.  I would find out who will be assigned to the Public Safety Committee, Personnel Committee, and the Ad Hoc Committe for Police Reform, and send a letter to each Chairperson.  Councilmembers have the power to get results, but you must contact them.

I would put the info you detailed in a letter, send it, and follow up with a phone call to any councilmember you contact.  Given the abysmal recruitment rate, the issue of polygraphs and recruitment is sure to be a Council priority.  I have had some success contacting Councilmembers, but I'm laying low until my appeal is processed.  Please make them aware of your son's situation.  If you live in LA contact your Councilperson directly.  
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #14 - Jun 30th, 2001 at 2:30am
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Thanks again for your reply and the information.  Yes , Cheesywe do live in Los Angeles.  : Grin And I am aware that councilmatic offices can be of some help.  Yet, Public Safety still  is the one that makes the decisions.   

Please do not feel "lower than dirt" due to the results of your poly.  I am now ,after this whole experience a full believer that only LIARS and those who have NO CONCIENCES have the remote possibility of passing a polygraph test.
Those of you who tell the truth, make no attempt to use countermeasures and do exactly what the examainer asks you to do really do not have a chance.

Please look into your own heart and know that being a good, law abiding, community respecting person should be rewarded.  Please do not let this experience make you think that you are not "good enough" or "not the type of person"  who should be in law enforcement.  Look at the whole picture and realize that LAPD has a command staff and a group of people in Backgrounds that need more training and better investigation skills.  Someday soon maybe this whole mess will turn around and the"GOOD GUYS" will again start being selected as the officers of the future.  When and if ???this happens those of us living in this beautiful city will once again be protected and served by the best of the best.  I personally am looking forward to that day.
Take care,
MOM Smiley
  
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