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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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