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john65pennington's avatar

Whats your opinion about police officers being required to take a polygraph examination every six months?

Asked by john65pennington (29235points) July 30th, 2010

My department only required a polygraph examination one time, when applying for the position. i have only had one exam in 44 years of service. Question: do believe taxpayers dollars would be well-used to provide a six-month polygraph examination to police officers? i ask this question because of the enormous handling of confiscated drugs, money and evidence.

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11 Answers

MrItty's avatar

A polygraph asking them what?

mowens's avatar

I honestly don’t know. I suppose it has been proven they are a reliable technology, but even still. If it has a false positive rate of 1%, that means one out of one hundred cops would unrightfully lose their jobs.

On the other hand, there does have to be checks and balances.

john65pennington's avatar

Mrltty, honesty questions. just to keep them that way.

Most vice squad officers already take these tests every six months.

Also, a computer kicks out an officers SS number for a surprise drug test. goes on 24/7. what do you think about this?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I don’t think they’re reliable and should not be used for routine personnel evaluations. A false positive could get a good cop fired.

MrItty's avatar

@john65pennington I have no problem with random drug screenings. I don’t get the point of a test just for the sake having a test, however.

FutureMemory's avatar

I would be more interested in seeing results from random searches of their personal computers. I wonder how many cops have pirated movies/music or child porn?

ipso's avatar

I completely condone both random drug tests and not so random polygraph tests for public positions of authority. I believe they should be required categorically of politicians as well as law enforcement.

The knowledge that these things are eminent is the point. Knowing this provides for.. superior moral fortitude.

I’ve been subjected to both, and although I wasn’t particularly keen on actually being held accountable for my actions at the time, upon reflection, it allowed me to have a great excuse if I chose to embrace it. (“Dude – I can’t do that 8-ball, I have a drug test.” “Dude – I can’t do that 8-ball, I’ll fail the lie detector test when I want to be an FBI agent.”)

Kids should be educated by their parents that they are more or less free to do drugs in school, and there can be no stopping them, but they will be held accountable for the rest of their life to the truth of the matter. Using cocaine may preclude you from ever working in certain government jobs.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Sure why not?
I dated a drug enforcement agent that used to tell me about the parties he and cronies used to have.

mowens's avatar

What’s an 8-ball?

Also… drug tests on undercover agents? Lets say you are undercover trying to bust a drug… whatever they are called. Guys come in and say you are going to do this, or I am going to shoot you in the face.

I’d do it, and I am against drugs. I also don’t think someone in this situation should be fired. He wouldn’t be put in that position, if he were not a cop.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
jaytkay's avatar

I thought polygraphs were unreliable, too. They aren’t allowed anymore for job applicants in Illinois.

Back in the day, I was given one for a retail job. I asked the examiner, “How accurate is this?”

He said the value wasn’t the accuracy. Mostly it was helpful because people would open up and admit to things, assuming it was better to fess up than get caught by the machine.

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