Polygraph Tests | Police Prof

Polygraph Tests

April 6, 2011

When the issue of the polygraph test came up as I applied to become a police officer, I must admit I was quite nervous. This is a mystery really because I don’t have a criminal record apart from the Donny and Marie Osmond 7” vinyl I was given when I was kid. That’s just a little secret between you and me by the way. I didn’t even like the record…it was a present….honest!

Anyway back to the polygraph test. Most people know it as a lie detector test and I guess that’s the problem. Why are these people trying to catch me out? Will I be subjected to interrogation in a darkened room with a bright lamp shoved in my face? Well there was none of that so if you are due to take the test soon I can tell you there is nothing to worry about. Just tell the truth.

Basically you get asked a set of questions without being hooked up to the machine. When they do hook you up you get a few control questions such as “are you a man?” These are interspersed with some questions about your past and whether you have a criminal record, taken drugs and that sort of thing.
Someone asked me once if I felt I was being treated like a criminal. The simple answer is no. It is nothing like interviewing a suspect. Stay truthful and you will pass the test.

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