Polygraph Exams and Psychological Test in Policing

Published: 2021-07-07 00:06:05
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Category: Psychology

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IntroductionThe expensive process of going through the recruitment steps have caused several problems to the different organization including the law enforcement department. There are many reasons behind the usage of psychological tests but the main reason for taking such test is because of the sensitive job including the potential of the person who will be employed. It saves the cost by going through the different procedure and validate which employee will be the benefited from the organization. These psychological tests are not only being used at the start but also used by the department during the job in order to figure out the stability of the employee and the promotion so that maximum output of performance could get out of it(Honts, Charles and Racheal, 5). The further discussion will highlight both the major tests polygraph exams and psychological test in policing including the advantages and disadvantages of it regards to its accuracy in serving the purpose.DiscussionThe most important considered test in the recruitment of law enforcement employee which is also being misunderstood are the tests related to psychological. It is not the important aspect of pre-employment screening in the law enforcement and criminal justice career which either makes or breaks the chances of being hired as the police officer. The estimation shows the 90% of the law enforcement agencies in the United States of America have made these tests mandatory in their recruitment process. If it is being compared considering all the psychological tests then drug screening is 8 percent and 65 percent only is polygraph exam. The agencies which helped the candidates in guiding the hiring procedure of law enforcement department emphasized greatly of psychological tests because these tests have been considered to be most important ones. Apart from New Jersey, several other states use these tests for the hiring of the law enforcement employees (Stickle, 10).Before pursuing further in the depth of understanding the aim of tests, the understanding should be developed to identify what the results of these tests show. Failing the psychological tests doesn’t mean that a person lacks the sanity but it suggests the recruiter and the candidate that career in law enforcement is not suitable for him/her. The nature of the job for the law enforcement employees not only involved tough physical work which is being perceived but it is a continuous mental pressure and also emotional stress is involved in this job. The nature of job involves playing with posture and gesture which helps in keeping the firm attitude on the job. Considering all of these things, the police job is not for everyone and these tests as claimed by the law enforcement department helps in figuring out those people who are suitable for this job.The tool related to psychological test is psychological screening test which agencies use to make sure the hired person is suitable for the job and it facilitates in other processes of recruitment. This test includes basic abilities test, investigating the background information, checking the credit and finally a polygraph exam. The exam is divided into three sages, the first one is pre-test, surveys, and final interview. All of these tests further help in the finding out the suitability of the candidate and figuring out that how much suitable the law enforcement career is for that person. These tests categories every candidate into types before the final decision. The first one is low risk and after that medium or high risk. On the basis of these categories, the types determine that acceptability or unacceptability of that candidate (Nelson, 22).Along with above-mentioned types, these test serves the purpose of identifying the traits of the candidates’ personality. There are few important traits which law enforcement prefer the candidates and those are controlling the impulse, general intelligence, the judgment skill, ability in the performing of tedious and boring tasks easily, courage, integrity and honesty, lack of biasedness, reason of choosing this career, sexuality dealing and in the end which is most important is drug use.The benefits of using the psychological tests are as follow:The maintainer of autonomy helps in the hiring.The interference in the screening and hiring of the candidate is less.No dual relationship.These tests are broader in nature and more flexible to take.Confidentiality.Less pressure.The disadvantages are as follow:It creates the barrier to understanding among the psychologist and law enforcement agencies.The nature of the job is different than psychological level.The recommendation of the psychologist is purely based on the psychological level of minds but the job involves other aspects as well.Less opportunity for the research.After the overview of psychologist tests, the polygraph is also the most significant and important test by the law enforcement agencies which they commonly used for both the purposes. To select the candidate and to test the criminals. This exam is referred as the lie detector which records and measure pulse rate while asking the specific question to know that the one on whom exam is being taken is lying or telling the truth. Not just the pulse rate but also the connectivity of skin and blood pressure is being tested in this exam. It is always difficult to identify the responses of the person to whom questions are being asked because all the people respond and react differently to different situations. The scoring method of this exam is different and solely depend on the person who is taking the test. The level of the standardized score has been created yet and these scores fill the requirement of the nature of the job (Stickle, 10).These specific ways and steps which needs to be followed for this exam. The session of polygraph starts with an interview for primary information. After getting the primary information it follows with the design of diagnostic question on the basis of the primary information. Before conducting the final polygraph exam, the test taker will analyze and examine the questions whether these question will give the clear result or not. The start of the test takes place with asking the candidate to lie deliberately so that it could identify what response it gives when the lie comes. Then comes the relevant question and interview starts in order to conduct the exam of the polygraph. Different range of questions according to their nature asked and the responses noted down with the expressions and recording of blood, pulse, and skin take place.There are several of the criticism done on this exam because it put pressure on the candidate due to the style of test is like an interrogation. This test often confuses the candidate which in result gives the wrong results of the exam. The nervous state of the candidate will give the responses same way as someone is lying. There are alternative tests also been developed so that it could be figured out the errors of this test? Lately, the test is also been questioned by the scientist and they are questioning the validity of this test because somehow it is also an outdated way of hiring.Following are the advantages of this test:It detects the dishonesty of the person which helps in scrutinizing the candidate. It will help in knowing that which person will give benefit to the department and which one harm it. The dishonest person in the field like police will only undermine the integrity of this profession because honesty is the core of it.This test sets the expectation because even from the start those who will apply for the job will know that no matter what, in the end, the lie detector will catch if they are not being honest in their documents.Followings are the disadvantages of the polygraph test:It will hurt the morale of the candidate because the lie detector as suggested by the name of it will leave the impression that candidate even not ling will be seen as dishonest to the recruiter. It put pressure on the candidate due to the style of test is like an interrogation. This test often confuses the candidate which in result gives the wrong results of the exam. The nervous state of the candidate will give the responses same way as someone is lying.The results are inaccurate most of the time which have been mentioned earlier as well. There are alternative tests also been developed so that it could be figured out the errors of this test? Lately, the test is also been questioned by the scientist and they are questioning the validity of this test because somehow it is also an outdated way of hiring. It will damage the oral of the candidate in other phases because even though they are not lying but the inaccurate result will make them undermine their own self-respect (Nelson, 22).ConclusionsSeveral of the law enforcement agencies use these tests and exams now. While considering the advantages and disadvantages of these tests that to some extent they are providing the help in hiring the candidate for the sensitive type of job. There are many reasons behind the usage of psychological tests but the main reason for taking such test is because of the sensitive job including the potential of the person who will be employed. It saves the cost by going through the different procedure and validate which employee will be the benefited from the organization.It is not the important aspect of pre-employment screening in the law enforcement and criminal justice career which either makes or breaks the chances of being hired as the police officer. The agencies which helped the candidates in guiding the hiring procedure of law enforcement department emphasized greatly of psychological tests because these tests have been considered to be most important ones. The nature of the job for the law enforcement employees not only involved tough physical work which is being perceived but it is a continuous mental pressure and also emotional stress is involved in this job. The nature of job involves playing with posture and gesture which helps in keeping the firm attitude on the job. There are few important traits which law enforcement prefer the candidates and those are controlling the impulse, general intelligence, the judgment skill, ability in the performing of tedious and boring tasks easily, courage, integrity and honesty, lack of biasedness, reason of choosing this career, sexuality dealing and in the end which is most important is drug use. The lie detector which records and measure pulse rate while asking a specific question to know that the one on whom exam is being taken is lying or telling the truth. Not just the pulse rate but also the connectivity of skin and blood pressure is being tested in this exam. It is always difficult to identify the responses of the person to whom questions are being asked because all the people respond and react differently to different situations.Works CitedHonts, Charles R., and Racheal Reavy. “The comparison question polygraph test: A contrast of methods and scoring.” Physiology & behavior 143 (2015): 15-26.Stickle, Ben. “A national examination of the effect of education, training and pre-employment screening on law enforcement use of force.” Justice Policy Journal 13.1 (2016): 1-15.Nelson, Raymond. “Scientific basis for polygraph testing.” Polygraph 41.1 (2015): 21-61.

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