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Ahhh... The polygraph

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by JohnnyReb, Oct 18, 2011.


  1. JohnnyReb

    JohnnyReb
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    Yesterday, I took a polygraph with the state police. The entirety of the polygraph was about 3.5 hrs long, from pre test interview, test, and post test interview.

    For those that don't know me, here is a little background on me, I have been a correctional officer since the age of 18, for a local sheriff's office. I'm currently 23. In my five years, I have had numerous commendations, I have attended background investigation/pre employment training, weapons training, suicide awareness training, and I have been disciplined once, for a relatively minor infraction two years ago.

    I have taken a total of 3 polygraphs prior to this one, my inital polygraph was a rough time with a lot of accusations and game playing, but I was hired by my agency. My second was with a large federal uniformed LE agency, which went entirely smooth, with no problems (I was treated much better).

    My third polygraph was roughly an hour, to an hour and a half, with my current employing agency for a transfer to patrol. This polygraph was roughly two weeks after passing the federal LE polygraph. I thought it went smooth, and at the end the polygrapher came back into the room after my test asking how I thought I did, I told him I'm assuming everything was fine, given the fact I took one two weeks ago and had no issues. He said "ok" and we exited headquarters together.

    Two weeks later through the rumor mill at work, I heard my polygraph showed deception. I was never contacted officially regarding this. I contacted my background investigator, whom I'm on first name basis with and attended training with, and he told me my polygraph came back indicating "deception" but unless it was in a certain category, the major would sign off on it. I was then reassured not to stess about it, and everything will be fine.

    Two weeks later, I got a letter in my mailbox at work, saying to reapply in a year.

    This frustrated me, but I later learned that out of the four correctional officers that applied for patrol, 3 showed "deception" on their polygraphs, while the one who was connected to the sheriff got hired. Politics at its best.

    This infuriated me, both with the polygraph process, and with my agency, so I continued to apply elsewhere. One of those places, was a small PD, with approximately 15 officers. The state police is contracted to conduct their polygraphs.

    Fast forward to yesterday, I met with a trooper at a local barrack for my polygraph exam. The pre-test interview went well, and I disclosed everything that came to memory, putting all my cards on the table. I moved on to the polygraph exam room, and proceeded to take the test.

    As soon as I finished the 3rd chart (the final chart taken), the trooper sits up very quickly, and states in a accusatory tone "What's with the theft question?" I immediately became very ticked off and frustrated. Not only do I get very angry when my integrity is questioned, especially off the basis of squiggly lines of a machine, but I feel like I will get screwed over like polygraph number three.

    Then, he says that I indicated strongly on the theft question, domestic violence question, and serious crime question. I become infuriated at this point, and nearly began yelling at the trooper. He then throws out some examples like theft from incarcerated persons, dishonesty on my time sheets, ect.

    I have never stolen anything other then what was disclosed in my pre-interview sheet, which was all at a young age.

    The trooper then tells me he didn't appreciate my attitude, and I tell him I didn't appreciate having my integrity questioned. He then tells me he can offer a retest but my attitude is getting me nowhere. I told him I will take polygraphs all day long as I have nothing to hide.

    I even offered to take another one, right then and there. He of course declined, and said I will be contacted at a later date.


    This job, will be a paycut to the tune of about $15,000, and its not so much as a 3rd choice of mine. Its merely a backup plan, to the federal job. I have been informed by the federal agency that I am completely done, and im waiting on a class to be put together. But knowing how federal funding is, it is of course not guaranteed.

    My position on the town job is, I would take it if offered, but I'm not going to beg or plead for it. If its not offered to me, I will continue to stay where I am, making more money, and I won't lose any sleep.

    It just seems like a lot of BS to go through, for what in more then a couple ways would be a step backward.

    My motivation is leaving corrections is because my ultimate career goal is to become a police officer, not babysit all day. This would achieve this goal, which is why I applied in the first place.

    I'll take the polygraph retest, if nothing else because I feel my integrity is questioned, and I won't back away from that.

    But I won't hold my tongue with the polygrapher either, I will not kiss anyone's ass for this. I'm a very upfront and blunt person, and I will continue to be with the trooper.

    Just venting and sharing my experience. Its a long post I know.

    :soap:
     

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    #1 JohnnyReb, Oct 18, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  2. Kahr_Glockman

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    I wouldnt have done that, but that's me. A lot of the time the polygraph examiner is fishing for stuff that would disqualify you. Most of them just use it as a tool to get a confession.


    <===== Is not an examiner and did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express. (I just know a couple of examiners.)
     

  3. JohnnyReb

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    What wouldn't you have done?
     
  4. Kahr_Glockman

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    Sorry I should have been clearer. I wouldn't have blown up at the examiner. And when I say I wouldnt have done that, I am saying that "I" wouldnt have. I am not saying that you "shouldn't" have.

    That is just my personality. I would have just approached as another interview.

    Again, not saying that you are wrong in doing what you did. But my thinking is that the "blow-up" is going to make it back to the hiring agency.

    YMMV.
     
    #4 Kahr_Glockman, Oct 18, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  5. JohnnyReb

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    That is indeed very possible. I don't believe I was necessarily over the top with it, but having someone imply I'm lying, about a serious integrity issue, really chapped my ass.

    Before I left, I apologized to the trooper, and told him I just get very upset when my integrity is questioned, as he would be. He agreed.

    It's hard to say how its going to come out honestly.
     
  6. vanilla_gorilla

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    Sounds like he probably got you to do exactly what he wanted you to do. I wouldn't expect to hear back from that agency any time soon.
     
  7. Sharkey

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    I spent 19yrs in LE with the only thing being in my file -a ltr. of reprimand for missing court. After 10yrs with one agency, they let me go for political reasons.

    I've applied with countless agencies and supposedly passed 3 polygraphs and each one has been different. Personally I don't put too much faith in them but a lot of agencies do. I keep getting dinged on my background yet no one tells me what was found. I'm now an Inv. for a state agency that is non commissioned. It really blows that after my unblemished service, I'm now a pariah to everyone. I can sympathize with you.
     
  8. JohnnyReb

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    What was exactly, what he wanted me to do? He was fishing for something that was not there, and I became irritated. If I imply you are a liar, and a thief, how are you going to respond?

    I didn't cuss at him, or go beyond an elevated and assertive tone.
     
  9. Kadetklapp

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    Ah the polygraph. Another extinct piece of non-relevant equipment used to "shunt" otherwise good officers out of the way so that political hires can sweep the awards ceremony.

    They have become so distrusted in my AO that several agencies don't even use them.
     
  10. JohnnyReb

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    I believe they can be great tools at times. I disagree with their use in pre-employment, because I believe that's what a good background investigation is for. Not to mention, its completely subjective assuming no "confessions" are made.

    Its the one part of the process that's easiest to manipulate. You can't change how a person's background is, the psych, or a drug test. Even oral boards commonly have several people interviewing, asking questions and writing notes.
     
  11. IGotIt

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    I can see your point in getting ticked off but losing your cool during any type of interview or testing process will become noted in your investigation folder, with the possibility of being labeled "quick to anger".

    BTW, I don't agree with the polygraphs unless there is an indication in the background investigation that something needs to be looked at further.
     
    #11 IGotIt, Oct 18, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  12. sulaco

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    Although I didn't have to take a polygraph (and I am not in law enforcement at all), I was deep-six'd in my background investigation for political reasons. Corrupt people are in all walks of life and I am sure a polygraph is just another means to an end for some. Unfortunate, but it's the way things are.
     
  13. JohnnyReb

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    I doubt it was to that extent, its not like I was rattling doors with my voice or anything. But I suppose anything is possible. :dunno:
     
  14. Pepper45

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    Stories like this make me glad that pre-employment polygraphs are illegal in Oregon. They're unreliable, and the results are subject to interpretation by the examiner. This makes no sense in what should be a fair evaluation of the candidate's suitability for the job, and set their ranking among their peers.
     
  15. JohnnyReb

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    I wish I didn't have to take one man. If they want to know my life story, let them contact every person that has ever known me, co workers and supervisors. My background will stand on its own.

    The biggest problem will be, applying to other jobs saying I "failed" a polygraph with the state police. That would not reflect well on me, even though I've done nothing wrong.

    Its a sham, and I'm still worked up about it.
     
  16. The Fist Of Goodness

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    It is a screening tactic to see how you react to confrontation or stress. What happens when a defense attorney attacks your integrity on the stand, and you become infuriated and blow the prosecution? You blew up at another LEO doing his job, how would you react to the criminal who accuses you of stealing his drug cash?
     
  17. Metro566

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    If you can't handle being drilled by a trooper in a controlled enviroment, how are you going to handle other stressful situations? like was pointed out already with the defense attorney (who may claim you falsified documents), or when someone files a complaint on you saying you stole their iPod after arresting them? Or when you tell someone to do something and they don't listen to you? etc

    I was told the psych specifically goes out of their way to get you to blow your top; the guys and gals I tested with who lost their cool aren't sitting in rollcall with everyone...I'll just put it that way
     
    #17 Metro566, Oct 18, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  18. dvrdwn72

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    bingo!
     
  19. vanilla_gorilla

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    Exactly what I was getting at.

    That's probably the ONLY thing I'd believe the poly is good at.
     
  20. puckhead

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    You have to stay calm and stick to your original story through the whole thing. No matter how many times they prob you about a certain topic. They are looking to see if you change your story and to see if you get defensive. If you truly did not do it, why get upset over it? Just repeat your story and get through it.
     
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