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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It (Read 37062 times)
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #15 - Jul 17th, 2001 at 3:19am
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I have just been made aware that the people who have been doing the pre-employment polygraphs for LAPD are Police Officers with little training.  These officers have been trained to do only pre-employment type polys only.  They are not the persons who would be giving anyone who is on the job a polygraph.

Now, I would love to know just how much training these officers have ,and what type of certifications they have?  Considering, that every new hire must take one of these tests, just how many young qualified candiates have been stopped short in the process due to undertrained persons doing these polygraphs ?

This just seems wrong to me!  This is something that should be investigated!  The Department is disqualifying applicants at a rate that would stagger anyones mind.  And now I find out it is being doing by underqualified personnel.  I hope I am not the only one that finds this practice disturbing. ???
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #16 - Jul 17th, 2001 at 6:16am
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I have just been made aware that the people who have been doing the pre-employment polygraphs for LAPD are Police Officers with little training.  These officers have been trained to do only pre-employment type polys only.  They are not the persons who would be giving anyone who is on the job a polygraph.

Now, I would love to know just how much training these officers have ,and what type of certifications they have?


AMom,

The answer to this is quite simple.  A polygrapher goes through 8-10 weeks of "training" to become a polygrapher, I am not certain that there is a certification process.

Quote:
This just seems wrong to me!  This is something that should be investigated!  The Department is disqualifying applicants at a rate that would stagger anyones mind.  And now I find out it is being doing by underqualified personnel.  I hope I am not the only one that finds this practice disturbing. ???


It is very wrong. If you look for AMM's posts for the address of Phyllis Lyons and Margaret Whelan, I urge you to write to them and also to Mayor James Hahn and tell him about your son's experience. Also refer them to this website and dare them to be informed about The Lie Behind The Lie Detector.

Another option for your son is to look for employment with State agencies www.spb.ca.gov
There are many law enforcement opportunities with the State, and with the DOJ special agents being the only exception, State agencies DO NOT POLYGRAPH.


Good Luck

Fred F. Wink
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #17 - Jul 17th, 2001 at 11:23pm
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To All:

I'm still laying low pending the outcome of my appeal, but I wanted to comment on A MOM's last post.  According to my background investigator, many of the examiner's administering this program have been hired from the outside, or were detectives selected to go through the "extensive" training required to make them experienced pyschophysiologists.  His uncensored opinion was "they don't know what they're doing."  He also mentioned to me that they have been classifying a large number of candidates as "no opinion."  I'm not sure if this is actually the same as "inconclusive," but it is putting a large group of candidates in limbo.  He felt that the large number of no opinions was probably due to their lack of experience.

As we all know, the examiner's job is to interrogate and produce (and maybe even manufacture) admissions.  This is even listed in the job description/requirements put out by the City of LA's web site.  If you'd like to view it, go to their main web site and search it using the word: polygraph.  They're despicable people.

George,

I received a written response from my State Senator a few weeks back.  He expressed interest in introducing legislation and I'd like to give you his address.  I will email it to you directly tomorrow afternoon.

AMM
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #18 - Jul 18th, 2001 at 5:49pm
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AMM wrote on Jul 17th, 2001 at 11:23pm:
I received a written response from my State Senator a few weeks back.  He expressed interest in introducing legislation and I'd like to give you his address.  I will email it to you directly tomorrow afternoon.


AMM,

That's great! After I hear from you'll, I'll contact him by mail.

Also, the URL for the city's job announcement for polygraph examiners which you mentioned is:

http://www.lacity.org/PER/exam2240.htm
  

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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #19 - Aug 20th, 2001 at 8:54am
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Journalist Kurt Streeter mentions the LAPD pre-employment polygraph program in an article titled "LAPD Exodus Is Outpacing Recruitment" in the Sunday, 19 August 2001 Los Angeles Times. The following is the relevant passage:

Quote:
In February, the LAPD began giving lie detector tests to candidates who had passed initial exams. The agency expected many applicants would be weeded out by its physical and medical exams, which traditionally eliminate about one-third of the recruits.

But state and federal laws protecting the disabled from job discrimination required that all applicants take the polygraph before their physicals.

"That came as a surprise to us," Parks said.

Because there are only nine polygraph examiners, the result has been massive gridlock.

Applicants hoping to get job offers quickly are being forced to wait six months just to take their polygraph tests.

"This whole thing was poorly thought out," said LAPD Capt. Paul Enox, whose Scientific Investigation Division was given the task of administering the polygraph tests.

One solution may be to hire a few more examiners, though the department has little space at its headquarters. The LAPD is discussing a plan to hire private examiners and to team with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which has conducted polygraph tests for years.

Department officials admit that until they smooth out the process, hiring will not improve much.

"There's no doubt we are going to lose really good, qualified candidates until we work this slowdown out," said Dean Hansell, outgoing vice president of the Los Angeles Police Commission. "Other departments are much quicker with their backgrounds."



Streeter missed out on the larger problem that about half of those polygraphed are being disqualified based on a pseudoscientific trial by ordeal. The deeper problem is not a shortage of polygraphers, but our city government's misplaced faith in polygraphy.
  

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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #20 - Aug 20th, 2001 at 9:14am
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"There's no doubt we are going to lose really good, qualified candidates until we work this slowdown out," said Dean Hansell, outgoing vice president of the Los Angeles Police Commission. "Other departments are much quicker with their backgrounds."


Mr. Hansell is also mistaken when he implies that the LAPD will no longer be losing "good, qualified candidates" if more polygraphers are hired.  As long as polygraph screening is being employed, the LAPD will be losing out on good, qualified candidates--no matter how many polygraphers are employed.
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #21 - Aug 21st, 2001 at 3:39am
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Mr. Hansell is also mistaken when he implies that the LAPD will no longer be losing "good, qualified candidates" if more polygraphers are hired.  As long as polygraph screening is being employed, the LAPD will be losing out on good, qualified candidates--no matter how many polygraphers are employed.

Gino,

Another portion of that article that is quite shocking

Quote:
The hiring process is partially to blame. Before entering the Police Academy, recruits must pass a series of exams and background checks that can take longer than a year, a journey that weeds out roughly 93% of all candidates. A Los Angeles County grand jury, in a recent review, described the process as "lengthy, unfriendly and negative. " The grand jury said candidates were sometimes made to feel like they "should be grateful [the]LAPD was even considering" them. LAPD and city Personnel Department hiring officials, who work in tandem to test and evaluate applicants, say they are trying to become more friendly.


It is ironic how the LAPD WON'T hire 93 % of the applicants to the department. The polygraph must be a significant attribute of this rate. When you look at the LA County Sheriffs Department in 1990 the LASD did 5000 polygraphs......to hire about 1700 people. That seems to say that about 70 % of the people taking a polygraph exam DO NOT PASS!!!! Now the LAPD wants to use the LASD polygraphers, who receive a top salary of $70,000 a year, to assist in handling their polygraphs as well.

The hypocrisy of polygraph is being overlooked by Los Angeles City and County officials and higher ranking government officials as well. They avoid the issue and defend the polygraph as a useful tool. If the polygraph was such a valuable and precise "scientific" technology, why is it relegated to only pre-employment of police officers and the occassional interrogation of unsophisticated, uneducated criminals to get "confessions"  that are not presentable in court.

The LAPD states they want to make their process more "friendly" hmmmm?


Fred F. Wink
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #22 - Aug 21st, 2001 at 4:29am
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I would like to address Fred "F"'s statement that: "the LA County Sheriffs Department in 1990 the LASD did 5000 polygraphs......to hire about 1700 people. That seems to say that about 70 % of the people taking a polygraph exam DO NOT PASS!!!!"  Fred seems to imply that the polygraph was the sole determining factor in these applicant's non-selection.

This statement show's Fred's ignorance of the process, for hiring decisions, even on departments that use polygraph testing, is based on numerous factors.  Any one of the numerous stages and applicant goes through, right down to the job interview itself, can cause an applicant to be removed from consideration.

Then again, based on personal experience, I must admit that Fred's statement indicating about 70% of the applicants fail the test, is actually a pretty accurate estimate.  You see, as a retired police polygraph examiner, I seem to recall that somewhere between 60% and 70% of the applicants who took my test, "failed".  Now I surely would have considered this statistic a terrible reflection on the accuracy of the polygraph procedure, had it not been for the fact that between 85% and 95% of those who failed, subsequently  confessed to numerous disqualifying criminal acts ranging from theft, to drugs, rape, robbery, child molestation, and even murder.

Of course, what always troubled me the most was that every last one of those applicants passed an "intensive" background investigation which always took place before any polygraph test was ever administered.

Gee, I've been giving this a lot of thought.  Since pre-employment investigations are so "invasive" and so "inaccurate", maybe we should eliminate them?  I have come to believe that these involved in these so-called "background investigators," are just con men, liers, and frauds, who perpetrate their snake oil against the rest of us who don't really know what they do behind closed doors....Smiley

LykenD ???
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #23 - Aug 21st, 2001 at 5:29am
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Now I surely would have considered this statistic a terrible reflection on the accuracy of the polygraph procedure, had it not been for the fact that between 85% and 95% of those who failed, subsequently  confessed to numerous disqualifying criminal acts ranging from theft, to drugs, rape, robbery, child molestation, and even murder.



So the at least 5-15% by your estimate that didn't make admissions therefore must be presumed truthful, are just outa luck because it's "acceptable losses" ??? even if your numbers were accurate I'm afraid if I were one of those 5-15% I would be filing some serious lawsuits, so what is 5-15% of all the polygraphs given in the U.S. today? that would be a heck of alot of "acceptable losses". I wonder if it would be acceptable if 5-15% of all those convicted in all courts of any crimes were actually KNOWN to be innocent? Note the word KNOWN.
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #24 - Aug 21st, 2001 at 6:14am
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LykenD,

You have chosen an interesting pseudonym for an interesting post.  The last paragraph of your post, however, confused me.  When you made reference to "Background Investigators," (being con-men, etc.) were you referring to line police officers, or those possibly contracted by smaller police departments to perform investigations?

I have no doubt that many police applicants lie on their applications, and may in fact be caught during a polygraph exam.  However, I don't think this justifies its use since its accuracy has not been proven through peer-reviewed scientific study.  As a former police polygrapher, have you ever considered that you may have falsely accused innocent applicants of lying?  Is there any remorse? Do you conceed the possibility you could have mistakenly "passed" an actual criminal?

My background (LAPD) investigator acknowledged to me (off the record, of course) that he had an applicant who passed his polygraph despite being an "out and out criminal."  This fact was uncovered during the extensive background investigation you appeared to make light of.  He also mentioned an applicant who took polygraphs on successive days for LASD and LAPD.  The applicant passed the LASD exam, but failed the LAPD exam the following day despite the same questions being asked.  I am not being argumentative here, but do you fancy yourself as the "last line of defense" in the application process?  I'm intrigued and would like to know more about your career and opinions.

I won't repeat my experience with the polygraph since they are contained in previous posts.  I will say, however, my major gripe (besides its inaccuracy) is that it's not being used as an "investigative tool" as claimed. It is being used as a substitute for background investigations since there isn't an appeal process.  The LAPD polygraph policy does not even consider the possibilty the exam could produce false positives or, more importantly, false negatives. I will also say from personal experience, the LAPD process is very unfriendly, and will continue to hurt the City and police department until it is changed.
  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #25 - Aug 22nd, 2001 at 3:28am
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AMM,

First of all, I would like to say that I appreciate your clear and objective response to my last posting and I would like to address some of the issues you brought up.

I for one, have never claimed to be a scientist, so the many statements I have read on this site, to include yours, that say that the accuracy of the polygraph procedure "has not been proven through peer-reviewed scientific study.", may very well be correct.  All I know is what I have experienced.

My first polygraph related experience was my own exam to become a police officer.  My exam went well, so obviously unlike most of the folks who post to this site, I started out with a pretty positive impression.  My next experience involved my selection to polygraph school.  I have two very strong memories of that experience some 20+ years ago.  The first memory was that even thought I was a college graduate, the academics taught in that institution absolutely kicked my butt.  The instructors took this polygraph thing VERY seriously.  I thought for sure that I had somehow ended up in medical school.  My next memory involved the hands on testing.  Every day, the instructors secretely "programmed" paid subjects either "guilty" or "Innocent" of various mock crimes.   We were then graded on whether or not we arrived at the correct diagnosis regarding their "guilt".

Now I don't know much about "scientific" studies, but I will tell you that by the end of the course, I was arriving at the correct decision about 90% of the time (and the instructors always MADE SURE we were not privy to information other then our test results, our "polygraph charts").

You also asked me, "As a former police polygrapher, have you ever considered that you may have falsely accused innocent applicants of lying?  Is there any remorse? Do you conceed the possibility you could have mistakenly "passed" an actual criminal?"

Yes, the very fact that polygraph testing is not 100% accurate leads one to the obvious conclusion that I had probably called truthful people guilty and visa versa.  All I know is that my particular department considered polygraph only part of the hiring process and I personally made sure my superiors knew that polygraph had an error rate, just like many other forensic tests.  Did you know for instance that there is a significant error rate in hand writing comparisons?, tool and die mark examination? and even ballistics?  Now, I wonder why there is not a web site advocating the abolition of these other procedures?  (OK, I am of my high horse now...Smiley

Oh, you also asked me if I felt any remorse for any incorrect decisions I may have rendered.  My answer to that, is just like any professional who may have made a mistake at some point, I only pray that when St. Peter and I look back on my life and my career, that we determine I helped many more people then I may have hurt.  The statistics I provided in my earlier posting, lead me to believe I most often got the right diagnosis and did the right thing.

You asked if I "fancied myself as the "last line of defense" in the application process?."

You know, torwards the end of my long career, I must admit that I sort of did see myself as a "last line of defense."  As I said in my last posting, you have NO IDEA the huge numbers of felons who for some reason beyond my ability to fathom, have decided they wish to become police officers.  I know for sure that over my long career, I personally kept HUNDREDS of weird, sick, violent psychopaths from driving up to a street corner in a marked police cruiser and picking up your 12 year old daughter.

Lastly, you said that your major gripe was that polygraph testing was not being used as an "investigative tool" as claimed. It is being used as a substitute for background investigations since there isn't an appeal process."

If that is true, then I must agree with you.  As much as I always believed in my work, I always considered polygraph just "part of the process", whether that process was the pre-employment testing I did, or the specific criminal issue tests I conducted to support my detectives in their criminal investigations.

I guess that in the end, I guess police and intelligence agencies use the polygraph more for its "utility" than any claims good or bad regarding its "accuracy".  I know that it always worked for me and I solved alot of cases with the polygraph.

AMM, I am truly sorry that you have found the LAPD polygraph process to be unfair and perhaps in its current form, it is.  I only wish you (and the other folks who read these postings) to see this issue from all sides and to make more objective decisions regarding the usefullness of polygraph testing.

I very much wish you luck in your endeavor to become a police officer.

LykenD

  
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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #26 - Aug 22nd, 2001 at 3:48am
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You see, as a retired police polygraph examiner, I seem to recall that somewhere between 60% and 70% of the applicants who took my test, "failed".  Now I surely would have considered this statistic a terrible reflection on the accuracy of the polygraph procedure, had it not been for the fact that between 85% and 95% of those who failed, subsequently  confessed to numerous disqualifying criminal acts ranging from theft, to drugs, rape, robbery, child molestation, and even murder.

Of course, what always troubled me the most was that every last one of those applicants passed an "intensive" background investigation which always took place before any polygraph test was ever administered.



LykenD,

First, allow me to make a correction, the year the LASD did 5000 polys was 1999 and hired 1700.

In response to your post, I have been through the LASD process and the polygraph is the first "exam" and it is scheduled immediately after your "jacket" is turned in and your fingerprints are scanned.  When I processed I was honest regarding my transgressions.  During the polygraph the polygrapher accused me of withholding information and told me I was not being 100 % honest and that he was going to fail me, he did offer to retest me, which I agreed to, but the retest never materialized.

Your statement of a 60-70% "fail" rate is not surprising. Because you have your examinee sign a release of liability, you have given yourself carte blanche to determine candidates success or demise. If your procedure was as accurate as you would like to claim it is, then why do examinees have to sign the release of liability for your procedure? I also agree with AMM's analogy regarding the process.

As far as your claim of the unsuccessful candidates admitting to rape, robbery, murder, etc... A little melodramatic as 95 % of people that commit crimes of that nature would NEVER attempt to get near a police investigative process as they would obviously face sanctions when their conduct was uncovered.

I will also agree that background investigations are not complete. The LASD will polygraph you as soon as you turn in your "jacket" without as much as looking at it. After your "success" at the polygraph, you are investigated, but to what extent is anyones guess. My belief is that the LASD uses the polygraph to reduce the number of candidates to be fully investigated.

Also remember that Aldrich Ames, a convicted spy, PASSED a polygraph "exam". Louis Freeh retired without taking one and Robert Mueller makes a joke about his "passing"

LykenD ponder this thought. You avoid the big issue and defend the polygraph as a useful tool. If the polygraph was such a valuable and precise "scientific" technology, why is it relegated to only pre-employment testing of police officers and the occassional interrogation of unsophisticated, uneducated criminals to get "confessions"  that are not presentable in court?

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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #27 - Aug 22nd, 2001 at 3:55am
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Fred F.,

Quote:
If the polygraph was such a valuable and precise "scientific" technology, why is it relegated to only pre-employment testing of police officers and the occassional interrogation of unsophisticated, uneducated criminals to get "confessions"  that are not presentable in court?


I'd just like to comment on the last point you made. Typically, confessions obtained during polygraph interrogations are admissible in court, but polygraphers' opinions are not.
  

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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #28 - Aug 22nd, 2001 at 5:32am
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FredF

It seems that your experience is quite different from what I have experienced in my previous police department.  For one thing, we NEVER polygraphed until the complete background package was done and even then, the results of the test went before our adjudications people along with everything else.  There were indeed many times when the polygraph results were overridden by the lack of cooborating information and the candidate was indeed hired.

The problem was that in most cases, and I mean the VAST MAJORITY of cases, the subject did in fact confess to criminal acts significant enough to warrant dropping him/her from consideration.

I do resent your comment:  "As far as your claim of the unsuccessful candidates admitting to rape, robbery, murder, etc... A little melodramatic as 95 % of people that commit crimes of that nature would NEVER attempt to get near a police investigative process as they would obviously face sanctions when their conduct was uncovered."

As long as this website likes to talk about valid scientific research, I would be happy to review the scientific investigative study that reflects "95 % of people that commit crimes of that nature would NEVER attempt to get near a police investigative process."  Could you possibly provide me with the appropriate cite?

In the meantime, please remember a wise, old native american saying, "Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins."  Once you have had the opportunity to walk a mile in mine, you would have had a chance to meet the vast numbers of confessed criminals who actually thought they would like to be police officers.  On a humorous note, I would love to introduce you to the candidate who had anal intercourse with his French Poodle the night before his polygraph exam to join police department.  He, like all the others, passed his pre-employment background investigation with flying colors....Smiley 

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Re: LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It
Reply #29 - Aug 23rd, 2001 at 6:02am
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LykenD,

Thank you for your response.  You have an interesting perspective and anecdotal evidence; I hope you will continue to participate in the ongoing discussion and review the scholarly research available via the Internet.  I believe a review of this research will lead you to see the polygraph in a slightly different light.

At the risk of being very lengthy and boring, I will repeat my polygraph experience for you.  My account will omit some specifics, however, as I am still processing and want to preserve my anonymity.  In 2000, I applied to two law enforcement agencies: one federal, and the LAPD.  The federal agency was experiencing a hiring freeze, so I concentrated on the LAPD.  I was still on active duty at the time, so my background investigation for the LAPD did not start until I was close to separation.  Everything was going well until I was asked to submit to a newly imposed requirement: a polygraph exam.  This didn’t disturb me at all since I had absolutely nothing to hide.  I had no prior experience with the polygraph and knew nothing about its accuracy.  I thought all I had to do was tell the truth and get ready for the police academy.  I took the exam (a Control Question Test) and was flabbergasted to be told I hadn’t passed!

My examiner accused me of withholding information.  (A nice way of saying I was lying.)  I denied this emphatically.  He then began probing as to why I may have reacted to several questions.  (I now know this is a common tactic to elicit confessions.)  I had nothing to admit or confess, but told him one of the questions triggered a long ago memory (not relevant to the actual “relevant” question asked) of an incident involving a family member.  I’ll skip the specifics but will say on my honor that the incident contains absolutely nothing detrimental to me.  This decade-old incident was “spun” into a de facto “admission” and I was temporarily disqualified for “honesty” because I failed to remember it during my initial interview.  I was forced to rebutted the severe mischaracterizations made by the polygrapher in a letter and was eventually reinstated.

What’s interesting about this you ask?  Well, for one, I later learned (among other things) that I had actually passed my exam!  The only person in the room that day who was lying was the examiner!  My negative experience sparked me to research polygraphy and eventually to this website.  Prior to discovering this site I found the Federation of American Scientists website “www.fas.org” and read excerpts of their critical analysis of polygraphy.  I also found the Senate Judiciary Committee’s April 25th hearing on “Issues Surrounding the Use of Polygraphs.”  (This testimony can be found on this website.)  I encourage you to read both because they contain scholarly research or make reference to specific research by academics who have no vested interest in polygraphy unlike polygraphers who make their living from it.  The researchers are scientists who are only interested in what the truth is.  Unfortunately for polygraphers, the research undertaken doesn’t support their assertions of very high accuracy rates.  You might ask yourself why our top nuclear scientists in New Mexico are unwilling to take a polygraph exam.  I suspect the answer is because these brilliant men understand it is not scientifically valid.

During my research, I was stunned to learn the polygraph is actually biased against the truthful and that polygraphers are actually trained to lie about polygraph accuracy in order to “stimulate” and convince the examinee the polygraph is “all knowing.”  Polygraphers must also lie about how the machine works.  I was told by my examiner during the “diagnostic” portion of my test that he needed to establish a baseline for my truthful answers, which I now know is complete nonsense.  I was lied to during the entire examination.  I know that I’m not telling you anything new here, but why does the polygraph community insist on keeping the public in the dark?  Quite possibly because if the public new that in order to pass a polygraph you are actually required to lie when asked “control” questions, their confidence would be completely eroded.

Could you possibly explain to me why government agencies (particularly the Federal government) has absolute faith in the polygraph in certain situations (pre-employment screenings), while at the same time discounting polygraph results entirely when they are not in their favor.  In a 1997 FBI affidavit (USA v. ENS Patrick J. Jacobson, USN), James K. Murphy, Chief of the FBI Laboratory’s Polygraph Unit noted the FBI’s official position is to oppose any efforts by a defense counsel to admit polygraph results as evidence because: “...the polygraph technique has not reached a level of acceptability within the relevant scientific community, [and] scientific research has not been able to establish the true validity of polygraph testing in criminal applications...”

Your post mentioned that by the end of your course, you were arriving at the correct decision about 90% of the time.  This seems to be consistent with laboratory statistics cited by polygraphers, but still says nothing about its “real-world” accuracy.  We all live in the “real world” and there are consequences to using a technique to which some academics have testified is only a little better than chance.  Unfortunately, the costs in using this questionable method seem to be borne, not by the polygrapher, but entirely by those falsely accused.  I would suspect that is why Congress passed the Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 outlawing employment conditional polygraphs in the private sector.

I applaud you for personally making sure your superiors knew the polygraph had an error rate.  (I’m sure other polygraphers would do their best to minimize this fact.)  However,  I would like to know (in terms of the pre-employment screening you did) how many applicants who failed their exam with you, but maintained their innocence, were ultimately hired by your police department?  Was there any attempt to corroborate the polygraph results, or were they deemed “acceptable losses?”  This is the real measure of whether your department believed the polygraph to be “just part of the process,” or believed in it unconditionally.  If no one was hired, then it would seem your efforts to educate your superiors were totally in vain.

You also mentioned significant error rates in other forensic procedures (hand writing comparisons, ballistics, tool and die mark examinations), and wondered why websites advocating their abolition don’t exist.  To that, I would say the reason is because those techniques are used exclusively in criminal cases, and never for pre-employment screening.  In a criminal case, you have the right to legal counsel, the ability to openly question those techniques, and cannot be compelled to submit to a polygraph.  Most law enforcement applicants, to my knowledge, have none of the aforementioned “rights” enjoyed by criminal defendants and can be capriciously branded a liar by a polygraphers without any repercussion.  I believe this is morally wrong and extremely unfair.  How nice it is to know you have fewer legal rights or methods of redress than someone accused of a crime.  Remember, under the LAPD polygraph policy, you can’t contest the results and are forced to sign a waiver releasing the polygrapher from any liability.  Were applicant’s allowed to contest negative results of exams you administered?  If not, then your former department may have been using the polygraph as a substitute for a thorough background investigations as well.

While I would agree with your comment that the polygraphs use is based on utility rather than accuracy, but I would say again that utility should not necessarily dictate use.  Using the logic of utility, we could easily make a case to use rubber hoses on applicants as well since they too would surely lead to disqualifying admissions.  Maybe “trail by ordeal” as a substitute? I am all for keeping sick, violent psychopaths from becoming police officers, but should we wrongly throw out good, honest, qualified applicants as well?  The answer is obviously “No,” but that’s exactly what the LAPD policy is doing.  I pride myself on my objectivity and that is what has led me to oppose the polygraph.  While I believe the polygraph has utility in certain criminal cases--specifically when using the GKT or Guilty Knowledge Test format, I think utilizing the CQT for screening is altogether misguided and will eventually lead to lawsuits by those falsely branded liars.  This post, unfortunately, has become quite lengthy and I will end it here.  Thank you for posting your viewpoint.  I appreciate and respect your position, and look forward to continuing our discussion.

V/r

AMM
  
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LAPD Polygraph Screening -- Let's End It

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