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Steve Ursel Researches the Prevalence of Countermeasures during Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Polygraph Exams

Tags: December 2021, Vol. 2, Issue 2

Steve Ursel, faculty in the Police Foundations Program (PFP), is conducting a study with Dr. Craig Rivera of Niagara University, on law-enforcement pre-employment polygraph testing, which has received IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval and is expected to be completed in April 2022.

The research aims to examine how prospective law enforcement applicants prepare for a pre-employment polygraph exam, and focuses on what type of research applicants conduct, and whether they are prepared to try to deceive polygraph test results to help themselves pass the exam.

Participants will be adult Criminal Justice students at a University in the United States, considering employment opportunities in law enforcement. They will be offered an opportunity to take a pre-employment polygraph exam to help prepare them for a future, real law enforcement polygraph test. Following this, they will be polled to determine the type of research they conducted and whether they had arrived for their test with the intention of trying to alter their physiology (countermeasures) to skew the polygraph test results.

This quantitative study was designed to provide a better understanding into the prevalence of planned countermeasures employed during a pre-employment polygraph and how social media sources may have influenced the examinee to employ them. The hope is that the results will provide law enforcement hiring managers and polygraph training personnel empirical data that could be used in examiner training initiatives, in initiating transparency in the pre-employment polygraph programs, and developing better methods of challenging flawed social media information.

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