Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. School Psychology-Professional School Psychology




College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

Dihoff, Roberta


Lie detectors and detection; Employee selection; Law enforcement


Criminology and Criminal Justice | Psychology


The current study examined the use of and the consistency of use of the polygraph exam by law enforcement agencies throughout the United States as part of the screening process to find suitable applicants for employment as police officers. The polygraph exam can be a valuable tool for law enforcement agencies to use in screening applicants, but research has shown that there are questions with regard to the validity and the reliability of the polygraph exam and that improvements in the consistency of use and standardization of practices would increase the validity and reliability of the polygraph exam as a screening tool (Kircher & Raskin, 1988; Honts & Amato, 2007). A survey addressing police applicant screening procedures was mailed to the ten largest law enforcement agencies in the United States. Results indicated that the polygraph exam was not standardized or used consistently by the law enforcement agencies throughout the United States in the screening of law enforcement applicants. Seventy percent of the agencies surveyed used the polygraph exam, and 20% of the agencies administered one polygraph exam to each applicant. The type of polygraph instrument used for the polygraph exam was inconsistent among the agencies, and 75% of the agencies disclosed the results of the polygraph exam to the applicant. The current study provided additional information to the available research concerning the law enforcement agency applicant screening process and provided implications and future direction for further investigation.