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Another LA County Polygraph Horror Story... need advice

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  • Another LA County Polygraph Horror Story... need advice

    Hello, I am a cadet in the college bureau for the LA County Sheriffs Department. I technically work for the district and not the department, but i work in uniform at a station and am supervised by sheriff's personnel. Anyway--

    I started my process for custody assistant in feb. 2008
    I have since submitted my background packet, completed a jail tour, taken three polygraphs, passed my interview etc etc...

    I am missing the Physical Abilities Test, Medical Evaluation, and Psychological Evaluation. None of which I am worried about.

    HOWEVER.....

    I failed my third polygraph on tuesday, and was told I will probably be disqualified as soon as the official results come in..

    First polygraph I took, they said I showed reaction to the questions "Have you ever used an illegal drug?" and "Have you ever smoked marijuana?"

    They scheduled me for a more specific polygraph where they asked me integrity questions, and questions about my marijuana use.

    I passed all the integrity questions. Then came the marijuana questions.
    "Do you intend to tell the truth about your marijuana use?"
    "Have you ever used marijuana?"
    "Did you tell the truth about your marijuana use?"

    I passed the first and third questions with no reaction, but they said I reacted to "Have you ever used marijuana".... so the test was considered inconclusive, and I was scheduled for a third.

    At my third poly, the examiner told me this would be my last opportunity to take the polygraph, and that I need to be completely honest and pass this time around. Needless to say I was extremely nervous...

    They asked me almost exactly the same questions they asked me the previous time, and this time she says I reacted to every single question and showed deception.

    I asked prior to taking the exam, if if was possible that I was reacting to certain questions because I care so much about being hired, and know in my mind that those are the questions holding me back. I told her I think I reacted not because I am lying, but because I am afraid of reacting to those questions, therefore becoming nervous when they are asked. She said something along the lines of "Well you are just going to have to get over that and pass anyway." .....2 minutes prior to this she was explaining how we cannot control our skin's conductivity, heart rate, breath rate, and other body reactions associated with "fight or flight".

    My question is this...

    If I am disqualified for this, is that just the end of the line? Or is there anyone I can write a letter to? Or any way of appealing the polygraph? I feel it is extremely unfair that I am being disqualified for not admitting to something I never did, which is basically what she wanted... I felt like it was an interrogation, not an "Examination".

    Also, will this hold me back when I apply for other positions within the department, or in other departments? I will be 18 next month, and will be applying for LA County and LA City Fire, as well as other positions within the Sheriffs Department, and was going to begin my process for "reserve officer" with the Los Angeles Police Dpt.

    Are these ambitions no longer realistic for me after a triple fail poly?

    If I don't get a job with a Police, Sheriff's, or Fire department over the next year I will be joining the Marine Corps. for 5 years and becoming Military Police, and trying again when I get out. Hopefully though, it will not come to that...

    Anyway, any and all advice at this point would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    From a strictly outside perspective, your story is fairly typical. I'm not minimizing your feelings, simply saying this does happen pretty frequently. I'm also not a Polygraph Examiner, and I want to make that clear. For the moment, all I can offer is this. The polygraph Examiner does not determine whether or not you remain in the process. He/she merely reports findings to the designated person in the hiring chain.If, in fact, you are DQ'd, you may have the right to appeal that decision. Wait until you recieve official notice of Disqualification before you decide to appeal. At the end of the day, you're the one who knows your history better than anyone else. If you're telling the truth, and I assume you are, stick to it. I can't emphasize that too much. Finally, if you are DQ'd, you're NOT precluded from applying with other departments. You'll be asked at some point in the process , whether or not you've been DQ'd in the past. If the DQ happens, you answer "Yes". I know it's easy for me to say, but you're not out of the running. You may have encountered a setback, but you're still in race. Good luck.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the kind words, sir. I will definetly continue to apply at other agencies until one hires me or they all DQ me. I was just hoping to get picked up by LA County. I'll let you guys know what ends up happening. Ill probably hear back about that poly officially in a week.

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