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by George M. Godoy
Police Polygraph Exam Tips
The polygraph has never been popular. Inadmissible
in court, dreaded by criminals, and forget police
applicants; they would rather have a root canal than
be subjected to the "box." Even police agencies
have mixed feelings regarding the lie detector
(which it's not) but that depends on whether they
are giving or taking the test. The polygraph has
steadily lost credibility in the legal arena, yet
thousands of law enforcement agencies still use this
ancient ritual to screen applicants.

The key to polygraph testing rests on the skill of
the examiner, which varies widely, even within the
United States. The polygraph is an instrument that
solely relies on the interpretation of the operator.
Not only is the polygraph examiner trained in the
operation of the polygraph instrument, but in the
technique of interrogation. Polygraph schools
devote a substantial amount of time instructing
their students in the practice of interrogation. This
boils down to getting a candidate to make damaging
admissions. The end result is possible
disqualification.

In order to pass the polygraph it is essential to
understand the common interrogation tactics
polygraph examiners use.

The most commonly used technique employed by
the examiner is projecting a sense of empathy for
you and your situation. Here the goal is to make
you believe he is there to help you. The examiner
will downplay the seriousness of the behavior you
are being asked about. He may even state that
everyone has things in their past they are not
proud of, and that no one is perfect.

Make no damaging admissions to the examiner. If
you're applying for a police position where you make
admissions regarding your background, do it when
you complete the application. Making additional
statements that are not contained in your
application or personal history statement will raise
red flags. The issue here is that you won't reveal
the truth until you are confronted. Admissions
made outside the parameters of the initial
application and personal history statement, however
small, may disqualify you.

The only exception would be, as an example, during
the "pre-test" interview where you admit to having
smoked small amounts of marijuana while in grade
school, or taking pens home from work.
Sergeant George Godoy (Ret.) is a 22 year police
veteran.  During his police career, Sergeant Godoy
served for 5 years as a police recruitment specialist
where he personally tested over 1,000 potential
police recruits.
Police Exam
Preparation

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