Chicago police moves polygraph unit after Tribune investigation

Nov. 29, 2013 at 9:41 AM

CHICAGO, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Chicago Police Department officials said they have scaled back on giving lie-detector tests during criminal investigations, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

The polygraph examiners have been transferred to the human resources department, and they now give the test to police officer candidates who are interviewing for a job, the newspaper said.

The move was initially set to be temporary, but the examiners are still with human resources a year later.

"The temporary detail was made to address the backlog in pre-employment screenings needs," police spokesman Adam Collins said. "There hasn't been a move away from polygraphs as a part of criminal investigations."

The shift, which occurred in October 2012, came during a Tribune investigation into the polygraph unit's potential role in obtaining false confessions, and many criticized the department for the use of the technology.

The Tribune discovered that police did not follow standards for administering or scoring the tests, and that the department had paid out millions in damages in cases where polygraphs were used.

Police denied that the department's strategy had shifted, and said that less polygraph requests are coming in.

In 2011, Chicago police administered 402 criminal polygraphs, in 2012, the figure dropped to 169. So far in 2013, there have been only 50.

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