Let me first start by saying I didn't know I was a yoga master. What relevance does this have in regards to the polygraph machine? Well, plenty according to the examiners and supervisors for the LAPD that feel that I know of special breathing techniques to manipulate a lie-detector device. You see, up 'til recently I was a potential candidate for becoming an LAPD officer. I had passed the initial requirements and was moving on to the next phase in the hiring stage, the polygraph test. I have never taken one or seen one before. I just looked at this as another "hump" I had to go over before moving on to the next level. Given all this, I was not afraid: I had nothing to hide.
Everything, almost everything, about me was submitted earlier in my background information "bible." I wouldn't be trying out to be a police officer if I felt I had done immoral and bad things. I could fully back this up with the information I had given along with the family, friends, former and present employers that can support my credibility and good standards as a human being.
I was brought into the examining room and shown the polygraph contraption by my examiner. I was given the step by step procedure of how this test would be given, and then I was attached to this physiological chart reader.
The questions asked during the polygraph were simple "yes/no" questions. You start off answering the obvious questions of "Is today's date blah, blah, blah?" and "Is your name "blah, blah, blah?" You are then asked a series of questions that pertain to answers already given in the background interview and the background "bible." Things like "Have you ever committed a malicious act (i.e., murder or felony)?" or "Have you taken $400 or more total from former employers?" My personal favorite was when the question of drugs came up. The examiner must have named 20 or so drugs I have never even heard of!!! In any case, all my answers were answers that suggest that I am the type of person good enough to be an officer.
Problems then arose. My examiner told me he found inconsistencies with my "breathing." He said I was "suppressing" my breathing and "taking deep breaths" prior to answering each question. This could be seen as a way I was trying to manipulate the machine and "covering up" the truth.
I am not a yoga master. I know of no special breathing methods and in no way would try to change something I know would distract a polygraph. I was breathing the way I normally breathe, and I even tried breathing at a steadier pace for their liking. But here we have a Catch-22, because you aren't supposed to change your breathing patterns, yet you are supposed to breathe as you normally breathe?!!!
The examiner left for 20 minutes and the supervisor then came into the room. Much to my dismay, he was very upset and demanded "How could I become a police officer out on the streets if I can't follow simple directions such as breathing?" His behavior was nothing short of rude and cruel. I was not about to be impolite; I do respect authority. I answered him with simple "Yes sirs," but I was angered and put in a very nervous state.
The examiner came back and proceeded to give me the same series of questions. This time I was fully intent on concentrating on my breathing before providing answers. Again, the examiner found another problem with the fact that I was moving too much. He mentioned I could receive a bad report and that I was going to be marked as trying to alter my scores by moving. Now, what can I do?!!! I'm not going to change my answers: I told the truth.
I have exchanged e-mail with at least four other people in the same position as mine. We have been subjected to one of the worst experiences of our lives. The way the LAPD polygraph test is performed has to be one of the most ridiculous, outrageous, preposterous, and cruelest procedures that exist. I perceived all this as a game that is played in order for someone who feels pressured and angered to confess to something they might have done wrong. I had nothing to admit, and so I felt they needed some sort of lame excuse to say I was trying to falsify my answers by breathing differently.
The polygraph is a great machine--if you want to check someone's breathing, blood pressure/heart rate, and sweat patterns--but other than that, it serves absolutely no purpose and should bear no significance in how police officers are hired. Los Angeles claims it needs more officers (around 1,000-1,200 to be exact) this year. Is it any wonder why hiring and recruitment is so slow? Is it any wonder that there is a backlog in the recruitment process because of the polygraph "gauntlet?"
I really wanted to be given a fair and honest chance for becoming a cop, but to tell you the truth, I have been a victim of unfair and malicious behavior by LAPD polygraph personnel. Los Angeles is going to lose a lot of wonderful potential candidates because of the lie detector. It is a great shame, because I really wanted to give to the community and contribute to the city of L.A. by wearing the uniform of an LAPD officer. But until changes are made, I'll have to stick to my 9-to-5er.
To conclude, I am not a yoga master. I repeat: I am not a yoga master.
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