What Questions Do They Ask on a Polygraph Test to Become a Police Officer

Title: What Questions Do They Ask on a Polygraph Test to Become a Police Officer?


The process of becoming a police officer involves several stages, including a polygraph test. A polygraph, commonly known as a lie detector test, is used to assess the veracity of information provided by candidates. This article aims to shed light on the questions typically asked during a polygraph examination for aspiring police officers. Additionally, we will address some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding this crucial aspect of the selection process.

Understanding the Polygraph Test

A polygraph test measures physiological responses such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and skin conductivity. These responses can indicate whether a person is being truthful or deceptive. The test administrator, usually a certified polygraph examiner, asks a series of questions while monitoring the candidate’s physiological responses.

Questions Frequently Asked on a Polygraph Test for Police Officer Candidates

1. Have you provided false information on your application or during the hiring process?
2. Have you ever committed a crime for which you were not caught?
3. Have you ever been involved in the sale or distribution of illegal drugs?
4. Have you ever used illegal drugs?
5. Have you ever falsified official documents or lied in an official capacity?
6. Have you ever used excessive force or engaged in unauthorized use of force?
7. Have you ever stolen anything, no matter the value?
8. Have you ever been involved in domestic violence?
9. Have you ever engaged in any form of racial profiling or been prejudiced against any group?
10. Have you ever driven under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
11. Have you ever leaked confidential information or violated the privacy rights of individuals?
12. Have you ever associated with individuals involved in criminal activities?

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How accurate are polygraph tests?
Polygraph tests are generally considered to be between 70-90% accurate, depending on the circumstances and the expertise of the examiner.

2. Can you fail a polygraph test even if you’re telling the truth?
Yes, it is possible to fail a polygraph test even when telling the truth. Nervousness or anxiety during the examination can lead to false-positive results.

3. Can you refuse to take a polygraph test during the police hiring process?
Yes, candidates have the right to refuse a polygraph test. However, this may disqualify them from further consideration for the position.

4. What happens if you fail the polygraph test?
Failing a polygraph test does not necessarily mean the end of your candidacy. The results are often used as a tool to initiate further investigation or clarification of certain issues.

5. How long does a polygraph test typically last?
Polygraph tests can vary in length, but they typically last between one to three hours.

6. Should I disclose past criminal activities during the polygraph test?
Candidates are generally expected to be honest during the polygraph test. Disclosing past criminal activities, even if not specifically asked, is crucial for maintaining integrity throughout the selection process.

7. Will the polygraph test only focus on criminal activities?
No, the polygraph test aims to assess various aspects of a candidate’s suitability for the role, including integrity, honesty, and adherence to department policies.

8. Can medications or health conditions affect the polygraph results?
Certain medications or health conditions may affect physiological responses and potentially impact the polygraph results. It is important to inform the examiner about any relevant health conditions or medications.

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9. Can the polygraph test be retaken if the results are inconclusive?
In some cases, if the results are inconclusive or there are concerns about the accuracy, a retest may be conducted to gather additional data.

10. Are polygraph tests admissible in court?
Polygraph test results are generally not admissible as evidence in court due to their perceived lack of reliability.

11. Can a person beat a polygraph test by using countermeasures?
Efforts to manipulate polygraph results using countermeasures are likely to be detected by experienced examiners, potentially leading to disqualification.

12. Will the polygraph test be the final determinant for employment?
The results of the polygraph test are typically just one factor among many in the overall assessment of a candidate’s suitability. Other factors, including background checks, interviews, and references, are also considered.


The polygraph test is a crucial stage in the selection process for aspiring police officers. The questions asked during the test aim to assess candidates’ integrity, honesty, and suitability for the role. While polygraph test results are not definitive, they provide valuable information for further investigation. Candidates should approach the test with honesty and transparency to increase their chances of success.

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