polygraph test for police officer in California, United States by vollmer institute

Police Polygraph Test

This article describes the details and tips of the police polygraph test. All you need to admit in important agencies and organizations are explained here. In this paper, an in-depth look is taken at tips and techniques to pass polygraph pre-employment exam and land your dream job. In addition, this paper gives readers information about using the polygraph in police investigations.

Police polygraph pre-employment exam

Police pre-employment polygraph exam is a kind of tool for supporting decision making in the staff selection procedure. Nowadays, this tool is widely used in the United States and some other countries in order to screen police applicants or any other important agencies and organizations.

Unlike diagnostic exams that used in criminal investigations, there are no violations, crimes or accidents in the police pre-employment polygraph exam.

For the first time, Leonarde Keeler signed a contract with Lloyd’s Insurance Company in London in 19930 to test bank employees regularly for embezzlement. After that many countries used this kind of polygraph screening test in their different sectors. Now, the largest user of the polygraph device is the U.S. government. There are 20 federal polygraph programs to screening applicants, employees, and contractors for collecting susceptible information. More than 60 countries know about polygraph capabilities and use it in private and public sectors, such as the United States, Mexico, Israel, Japan, South Africa, Bulgaria, Russia, and Canada.


How to master the police officer polygraph test

Imagine that you applied for a position to become a police officer at the Police Department. For being employed, you must have high standards for accepting the public trust. In addition, your past must indicate that you own honesty and respect for the laws as a police officer or FBI agent. In fact, you have to prove in a way that you are useful to the community and the police department.

For this reason, the majority of the police departments use a polygraph exam in their pre-employment process. It can be said that people who are looking for a position in the government jobs, law enforcement agencies, the legal community, police departments, and other criminal justice careers are likely to have to take a polygraph exam.

In the pre-employment polygraph test, the individual should not use falsification or misrepresentation. In fact, the individual must not attempt to deceive the examiner during the polygraph test in order to conceal any truth. In each part of the exam, if an examiner realizes this, you will be a disqualifier. If you were discharged dishonorably from any important position you will be a disqualifier. If you have used illegal drugs while you were working actively in these vital positions, you will be a disqualifier. There are many other factors that may impact on the disqualification such as using alcohol and controlled substance during driving resulted in a disregard for traffic laws and driving rules (Driving Record). Other examples are as follows:

  • Prior drug excessive use before entering in the vital jobs
  • Prior overuse of alcoholic drinks (frequency and quantity of their use of alcohol)
  • Current drug and alcohol use
  • Having a poor credit and reputation history like debt management and filing of the bankruptcy
  • Past actions and behaviors in opposed to the normal rules of the society such as publishing inappropriate posts on social networks from yourself
  • Poor work history and experiences like unreasonable resignation instead of termination from employment and excessive absenteeism
  • Any criminal behaviors such as cheating a company or stealing money
  • Undesirable personality traits or habits in police employment
  • Domestic abuse or family violence
how to masterpolice officer polygraph test in california

how to master police officer polygraph test in California

Fortunately, the examiner should not experience stressful polygraph exam. Having complete information about the exam and how it works can help you get a glimpse of your attitude to pass the exam in order to make you one step closer to an excellent criminal justice position for you. But the purpose of this article is not to teach you how to beat the polygraph exam; instead, it describes the details of the polygraph test process to reduce your worries.

All volunteers for pre-employment polygraph test must be informed about the device, how it works, how to be asked questions, the exam process, and any other relevant details.

For all the job positions in the government, law enforcement agencies, the legal community, police departments, and other criminal justice departments, the polygraph test is the most indispensable step in the pre-employment process. Hence, pre-employment polygraph test begins with pre-exam questionnaire same as a typical polygraph test. Questions are divided into different sections, and the applicant writes his answers in two hours. For former officers and staff, it may even last longer because of extra questions about his previous employment.

The real polygraph test starts after the applicant completes the questionnaire. The polygraph device’s components and tools are attached to the applicant. While the examinee answers the examinee’s questions, the device records vital and psychophysiological signs. Then, the examiner asks yes or no questions like is your name, John. Next, control questions are asked. This section takes the least amount of time. The aim of pre-employment polygraph test is to characterize whether or not an applicant is being honest on his job application. Any signs of deception may result in disqualification from employment.

Indeed, pre-employment polygraph tests have played a major role in finding many serious crimes that might otherwise be undetected. During the test, the examinee confesses in his pre-test interview.

Nervous and relieving the anxiety

Since the polygraph test records changes in psychophysiological signs, your overall behavior has no effect on the exam. But, your feelings toward every single question will be considered as truthful, deceptive and indeterminate.

Some people are intrinsically nervous and anxious, although there is no reason to have stress. The fact is that you cannot do anything to reduce your anxiety. However, the following points can be helpful.

  • Remember that your past belongs to the past and you are not able to change it.
  • If you truly want the job, you should not conceal any details about yourself.
  • In the criminal justice community, the most respected character is honesty.
  • Do not disrupt your daily life. Keep in mind that it is a day just like any other day.
  • Be calm and tell yourself it is just a device and somebody asks questions.

Why should the applicant’s background be checked?

Strict research on the individual background is conducted to ensure that the right people are in the right positions. There is a long list of subjects that results in your disqualification as well as there are many activities that will keep you away from your dream job.


Police polygraph questions

The questions containing the following subjects are asked during the test:

  • Shoplifting or stealing money or goods from the employer or other people
  • Smuggling or illegal sale
  • Illegal medicine use
  • Drug use
  • Alcohol use
  • Forging personal information
  • Taking part in any kind of organized crime
  • Any record of arrest or detention
  • Undetected commission of a crime
  • Any secrecy about a case that affects the results
  • Having the experience of a physical fight with another person like domestic violence
  • Paying or receiving a bribe

Each police department possesses its own policies. Therefore, their exceptions are different. For instance, some police departments believe that if a juvenile person shoplifted or if a person has not smoked marijuana in the last three years, they can ignore these points.

In conclusion, using the above information as a guide can help you to look for a position in law enforcement or criminal justice. Moreover, you are aware of the activities you must avoid in order to increase your chance of accepting a job position.

police polygraph test

police polygraph test

The most important tips during the pre-employment polygraph test and decreasing the risk of failing

  • Familiarity with kinds of polygraph questions: irrelevant, relevant, control/comparison
  • Keep in mind that examiner reads all questions to you during the pre-test. Therefore, you can categorize them in your mind.
  • Familiarity with nonverbal body language indicating truth or lie
  • Learning common interrogation techniques
  • Being cautious during post-test
  • Never change your answers
  • Answering questions directly with confidence and without hesitation
  • Making the best first impression by being clean, having a haircut, wearing dress professionally, polishing your shoes
  • Being friendly and calm
  • Smile but do not overdo it
  • Keeping eye contact with your examiner
  • Being punctual for the test
  • Being careful about your words, appearance, and behavior
  • Not being overly talkative
  • Answering yes/no questions with a simple yes or no
  • Sleep well and eat normally before the test
  • Avoid using tranquilizer medicine due to impacting on heart rate and breathing and inaccurate results
  • Considering the test as a job interview

Polygraph use in Police investigations

First, learn about the concept of police investigations with the question of what “criminal investigation is”. Criminal Investigation is a method that contains surveying realities and circumstances using searching, interviewing, interrogating, collecting and storing evidence and various investigative techniques that are used to identify, locate, and prove accused’s crime.

Criminal investigators or law enforcement professionals are detectives, who work with Investigation Team and forensic medicine or forensic pathology group to find clues, sample traces of crime such as fingerprints from the crime scene, gather evidence and witness, interview with the witness, write and keep report, write probable cause affidavits, take testimony in the court, solve crimes, prepare arrest warrants, find and arrest perpetrator. In general, these are police job functions.

Detectives and police staffs sometimes require confirming the information of the victims, witnesses, and statements of suspects. At this time, interviews and interrogations are often carried out with polygraph devices.

The increase in population growth has led to an increase in crime rates and law enforcement. When a polygraph machine is used properly as a research tool to omit illegal accusers and to identify perpetrators, it can help the police investigators to work more efficiently in the case.

All information collected regarding the case must be made available to the polygraph examiner. Also, the examiner talks about the subjects involved in the test with the investigator. This is an important part that helps resolve the case. The examiner can use this information in polygraph techniques to reveal the truth. Then, the examiner starts the pre-test interview with the issue. The pre-test provides this possibility for a person to describe his story again. Besides, this part contains examinee’s mental, physical and emotional mood during the test. Moreover, the examiner allows the examinee to expatiate on any previous statements made. In addition, the examiner checks examinee’s verbal and non-verbal behavior. The result and information of the test are very helpful regarding the issue under investigation.

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