DPD now administers polygraphs
Until recently, the Dickinson Police Department did not give polygraph tests but Detective Kylan Klauzer recently went to a 10-week school and since has taken two people through the test. And now all applicants interested in employment with the department are required to have one.
"We have a need in our criminal investigative process, to have someone who's a polygraph examiner in our area," said Capt. Dustin Dassinger. "We haven't used it in any investigations, yet, but we just started using it in our pre-employment process."
The department has made polygraph screening mandatory for applicants, he added.
"When a person is offered a job, they have three areas they have to pass," Dassinger said. "They have to pass a psychological test, a physical examination and then a pre-employment polygraph test."
The results of the polygraph are confidential, Klauzer said.
While it's illegal for most employers to require polygraph testing, law enforcement and city officials, among others are exempt, Klauzer said.
"You want to know exactly what type of people you're getting in your department," Klauzer said.
They can also use the polygraph for internal investigations.
"You can almost use it in any type of criminal case where you have a human involved -- any time there's a suspect," Klauzer said.
However, when using the polygraph as part of a normal investigation, the suspect must agree to take it.
"It's great for investigators for interrogating and interviewing because it works," Klauzer said. "Your body always is going to act different when you lie, no matter what."
A polygraph measures heart rate, respiratory activity, perspiration and muscle contractions.
"People can try to do counter measures or certain things when they come in here...they can mess with the results of the test by doing those things, but it's only going to hurt them by doing that," Klauzer said.
However, unless both parties consent, the test is not admissible in court, Klauzer said.
"I'm, in a way, glad that it's not admissible in court because the argument with that is, if it was, I think less people would be apt to take it," Klauzer said.
The test is 91 percent accurate, he added. It also makes it easier to get a suspect to confess when investigators can prove they're lying, Klauzer said.
He went to Department of Public Safety Texas Polygraph School in Austin to train.
"It was harder then any college class I'd been to," Klauzer said. "You do over a week of physiology alone in depth, and psychology and all types of interrogation stuff."
The school cost the department $4,500 and the equipment for the test costs about $10,000, he added.
Not every suspect will be asked to take a polygraph, he added.
"At the end of an investigation, when all other resources have been exhausted, a truthful person is going to usually be more then happy to sit down and prove their innocence in any way they can," Klauzer said. "This is just another way they can."