Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Is it time for polygraphs for the police?

Friends, I am no fan of Police, and I'm not opposed to the Police, I am a big supporter of truth, and justice. I disagree with the overwhelming power of the police, and the automatic believability of the officer. One example comes to mind. I was in a municipal court, and watching the various cases handled by the magistrate judge. One police officer had arrested six different people for possession of Marijuana when he had stopped them for other offenses. Each time, the same officer ran down a list of things that informed him that the suspect was under the influence of marijuana or it had been used recently.

If he had played a tape of the commonly seen/smelled clues, it would have sounded no different.

After the third time I saw it, I began to wonder if he ever smelled anything other than a "smell not unlike hay burning" or if anyone who ever talked to him had anything but "bloodshot eyes." Now, I am not saying this police officer was lying. I'm not saying anything like that, however I was suspicious about his testimony.

First, let me clear the air. All police are not liars, thugs, bullies, or abusive. The same remains true on the other side, all Police are not dedicated public servants who selflessly man the thin blue line between the public and the barbarians in our society.

It is a fact that people with Top Secret clearances have to take polygraph, or lie detector tests to maintain their security clearance. Now, that being said, why don't we require the same type of thing for the Police? Every six months, or every year, they take a lie detector test.

"Have you planted evidence on any suspect in order to get a conviction? Have you lied to the court or your superiors to cover up any improper behavior? Have you taken any items that do not belong to you except items which were issued to you by the department or otherwise authorized by the department for your use?" Could be the early example questions.

Now, before you decry the lie detectors, I already know they aren't admissible in a court of law, but that's not the point of their use. If you fail the polygraph test, you aren't put into jail, like the people with the top secret clearances, you just aren't allowed to work in that area any more. Take the test over, have someone else administer the test.

We don't do that for some reason. While we are happy to allow people with top secret clearances to take the tests every now and then to make sure they remain loyal and honest with their superiors, we don't demand the same from other public service sector employees.

How many good honest selfless members of the police would be affected by this type of test? Zero, none, none at all. How many thugs in uniform, those damn fools who give cops everywhere a bad name would be affected? Hopefully all of them.

Of course, you and I are reasonable and intelligent enough to know that this won't happen. Even discussing it as a possibility would have the police unions striking from one end of the nation to the other.


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