My name is Jordan Gonzales. I am a 20 year old from Houston, Texas, and have been polygraphed three times. I have failed every single one, though I was 100% truthful. It first started when I applied to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, wanting to go in as a jailer. I met every requirement for the job and thought for sure after passing the pre-employment tests I had this job in the bag, until the polygraph happened.
During the whole process I was confident in my answers, with no problem. A little bit nervous as normal, but I was also diagnosed with clinical anxiety as a young boy. Which makes me feel panic and nervousness even when nothing is going wrong. Even though I am medicated, it still does not suppress it 100%.
I took the polygraph test. Waiting for the tester to come in, he explained to me I had some "deception." As I explained to him I answered with complete honesty, he seemed not to believe me. Which really hurt my feelings to know I was telling the truth, yet he was calling me a liar.
I quickly realized that what I thought was just a interview process was turning into an interrogation. He explained to me that because of this, I could never apply at the Harris County Sheriff's Office again, which deeply upset me. I have wanted to be a police officer my whole life, especially for Harris County.
I took this as just a small road bump and later got a call from the Dallas Police Department. Same opportunity, same position. I took the trip to Dallas thinking this one is it. I have nothing to hide, I know what to expect now, and this is where fate has sent me. Same process. I was asked a few questions. The polygrapher checked out my answers and proceeded to the next test, the polygraph itself.
This time, once being hooked up, I was very nervous. Having failed one already put a little more weight on my shoulders. As the results came back, the polygrapher said I showed deception on a few of the questions. I said this had happened in Houston, too, and I don't know what has happened. I failed it too. They would not let me proceed onto the next phase of testing, and I was sent on my way home.
Telling my friends and family about this, all where surprised that I couldn't get the jobs, knowing I haven't done anything to disqualify myself. Especially since everyone knew I wanted to be a police officer more than anything. While in the process of applying for these jobs, people where already calling me "Officer Gonzales," having much faith in my ability to be a police officer and knowing what it meant to me, which it still does.
A few months later, my mother's wedding ring went missing. At the time the only people at the house were me and two men from Direct TV. I was taking a shower, getting ready for the day, while these guys where going all around the house doing work on all the rooms that had cable.
When my mother got home, she asked where her ring was. I did not know. All her other jewelry was there except this ring. My mother made a police report. I gave my statement and the officer said the investigator will talk to some people and see what he can do.
After a few days, both Direct TV guys explained that only one of them was in the house. And neither said they took the ring. It was their word versus mine. The investigator said that the only way the investigation would go anywhere was a polygraph. Since it was their word vs. mine, the investigator said the only way to get them to the polygraph was for me to take one also. Which I knew meant I had to go first before they did.
I got tested again, this time trembling. Failing two already, knowing I told the truth, was unbearable. After doing the first round of the test I was so nervous and sick to my stomach the polygrapher told me on the next tests, she only wanted me to nod my head up and down for yes, and side to side for no. And if I needed to throw up to go on ahead.
My anxiety kicked into full gear, and I had a full blown panic attack. A feeling I know all too familiar. She left the room for a few moments, and before she came back into the room, I already knew what was coming: disappointment.
She came in and explained that I showed signs of "deception." She also said that she didn't even need the polygraph, she could tell just by my reactions in the chair. I explained to her that I have clinical anxiety and that was the reason I was getting nauseous and couldn't stay still or could barely talk.
She said she has had people with worse symptoms of anxiety, even murderers who came into the chair and stayed calmer than I did. I realized again this wasn't an examination, but an interrogation. I pled to her I come from a family of means. Usually, if I ask my parents for something, they will give it to me; if not, I have a part time job, so I just work and get whatever it is myself. But most importantly, I know how much that ring means to my mother, so I would never steal it or anything from her.
I told the "polygrapher" that I wouldn't have any benefits for taking it. She said I failed every question, and I knew where it was, who it was given to, and what I did with it, and why.
I left there, told my mom everything, and she knew I didn't take it. If anyone knows you're lying, it's going to be your mother. Everyone's lied to their mother, and they know when it's a lie. At least my mother does (haha).
The investigator soon called my mother and said the case has been dismissed because no evidence has been provided. When asked if the Direct TV employees where polygraphed, they "could not say."
A few months later, while cleaning her room, my mother found her wedding ring that was simply misplaced. Not stolen by her son like the "polygrapher" had said. I was very happy for my mother, and she knew I wasn't lying to her or anyone else.
The only thing I felt for was knowing that the occupation I have been pursuing since I was a young boy, my hopes and dreams, classes and criminal studies, were all wasted. All because of a simple polygraph test that said I was lying. When all along I told the truth in all three instances.
Many people did not believe I told the truth on the first two tests, but once my mother found her wedding ring in her room that was misplaced, EVERYONE believed me. Now I am very dedicated to stopping the misuse of polygraphs. The lie detector is a lie.
This is my story and I hope it inspires someone to notice it. And take a stand for what really is right.
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