A police polygraph test usually includes a pre-test, chart collection and test data analysis containing police polygraph questions. During the pretest, the polygraph examiner completes the necessary paperwork, discusses the questions that are part of the test, and ensures that the candidate understands the testing procedure.
Reliability of the test
While the polygraph procedure is not foolproof, research has shown that when it is conducted by a qualified examiner, it one of the most accurate techniques currently available to determine the truth or deception contained in the applicantâ€™s answers.
When they were asked to list their reasons for using polygraph testing as part of the hiring process, most law enforcement agencies stated that it provides more valuable information than that compiled by using any other selection method. They also noted that administering a polygraph test acts as a deterrent to undesirable applicants, makes it less difficult to obtain candidatesâ€™ background information, and is more efficient than other selection methods they might use.
The three major benefits of polygraph screening listed were that it screened out undesirable employees, resulted in the hiring of high-quality officers, and that application were completed more honestly.
This is usually considered to be an important part of the polygraph test. Its purpose is to assure the applicant that the examination will be conducted in a professional way, and that any attempt at hiding the truth in answering the police polygraph questions will be detected easily, in order to underscore its effectiveness.. Test examiners will also tell you that providing such information puts honest subjects at ease and increases anxiety in those who feel they have something to hide.
The interview usually takes from 20-30 minutes, and applicants are told that answering the police polygraph questions is voluntary. They also have to sign a waiver, and they are reminded that a copy of the test results will be sent to the department where they have applied. At the same time, candidates are assured that they will not be questioned regarding their political affiliations, their religious or racial beliefs, or their sexual preferences.
Chart collection phase
At this point, the examiner administers and collects several polygraph charts and then proceeds to analyze them before rendering an opinion regarding the truthfulness of the candidate being tested. Note that basing such an opinion on the amount of vocal stress the person being tested has shown has no scientific support of any kind.
Police polygraph questions are covered by the guidelines related to interviewing for employment, which are found in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionâ€™s Title VII. This means that that the examination must be conducted in a manner that avoids racial, sexual and other types of discrimination. In addition, a basic principal of these ethical standards is that certain questions must reflect the position for which the candidate is applying.
The polygraph test is used to increase the probability that an application chosen for a career in law enforcement will have a high level of integrity, honesty and truth.
A polygraph examiner uses analog instruments or computerized instruments, and you will want to be prepared for what the test entails. An instrument will gather data from three systems in the applicantâ€™s body. Convoluted rubber tubes placed over the candidateâ€™s abdominal area and chest record breathing activity. Two metal plates, connected to the fingers, track gland activity, and a blood pressure cuff records cardiovascular activity. Those who take the test are attached to it for approximately 40-45 minutes.
This instrument records the psycho/physiological reactions and changes that occur in the applicantâ€™s autonomic nervous system as they respond to the test questions with a simple â€œyesâ€ or â€œno.â€ This system functions involuntarily and automatically, and the candidate cannot consciously control it, just as our lungs and heart still function even when we are sleeping. This means that any attempt to change these responses in some way in order to â€œcheatâ€ on the test will be detected by measures that a well-trained polygraph examiner knows how to use.
Police polygraph questions
They include topics such as the applicantâ€™s prior employment, drug use (if any), criminal history (if any) and driving record. The goal of the examiner here is to assess how prepared they are for the test, and some stressful â€œcontrolâ€ questions are included in the examination as well.
What you can do
Remember that a law enforcement agency uses its set of police polygraph questions to compile background information on their applicants. While taking the test may be stressful, there are some proven strategies and techniques you can use to successfully complete the examination. They include the following:
â— Try to remain calm during the test. The instruments used in a polygraph examination will measure changes in your body that show how anxious or stressful you feel. For some candidates, such reactions could result in a false positive, or the examiner might determine that you have lied when you were actually being truthful.
â— Before you answer every question, remember to take a deep breath. Throughout the entire process, you will want to remain as calm as possible. When the police polygraph questions begin, this will be relatively easy to do because the first few itemss will be both simple and non-threateningâ€”such as providing your name and address.
â— Avoid internalizing the question when it is presented to you. Dwelling too long on what the question really means will raise your stress level, and it is also more likely that a false positive will be the result. Both you and your examiner will happy if you listen carefully to the police polygraph questions and then respond quickly.
Dealing with the issue of illegal drugs
If you want to pursue a career as a police officer and have some experience in using drugs, your only alternative is to be totally honest about it. If you try to hide the fact from the interview panel, background investigators or the polygraph examiner, it is very likely that you will be disqualified automatically. The idea is to remember that the issue will probably come up more than once during the hiring procedure, and that you should make a special effort to avoid all illegal drug activity.
Those who do the hiring are well aware that there are many qualified applicants who have made a few mistakes in the past in regard to drugs, but the damage is permanent when they lie about. The only way to answer police polygraph questions related to drugs is to stay calm and respond to them truthfully if you want to pass the polygraph test.