Cops Required To Pass Lie Detector, What If The Machine Is Lying - WSPA.com

Cops Required To Pass Lie Detector, What If The Machine Is Lying?

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Only the best can protect and serve, but could some honest applicants be turned away?  

Most Upstate officers had to pass a lie detector test, a polygraph, before getting the job.  But recent newspaper reports  have raised new questions about the accuracy of those tests.

Polygraph tests are only part of the extensive process of background checks and psychological profiles before hiring an officer, but they can be major roadblocks to employment.

"It can be just off of this that a person is disqualified but not necessarily," said Captain Regina Nowak of Spartanburg Public Safety.

In Greenville County, the department requires a similar test.

"How can we have someone who is willing to tell a lie on an application turn around and enforce the laws of Greenville County and the state," asked polygraph examiner Nate Brooks.

Both agencies use a kind of polygraph made by Lafayette Instrument Company.  In February, Lafayette sent a letter to it's customers in "response to concerns about the potential for scoring differences."

It concerns a part of the machine that detects changes in the skin called EDA.  Users in automatic mode were getting different scores from people using the device manually.

Lafayette told customers, "researchers are presently quantifying the rate of occurrence."

In an email to WSPA, Lafayette said, "There is nothing wrong with the LX4000. Implications in the news media regarding LX4000 problems are based in misinformation. We continuously conduct research and work to improve our hardware and our EDA and we believe ours is the best that is available in the industry."

Upstate examiners stand by their tools.

"If I was to stand here and tell you that anything was infallible that would be a mistake on my part but the device is extremely accurate," Brooks said.

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