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Advanced lie detection technologies help restore trust in law enforcement


The reputation of police departments and sheriff’s offices nationwide has taken a hit the past few years. New technologies to vet job applicants can help assure only trustworthy officers are hired.

(Courtesy photo)
(Courtesy photo)

UTAH - One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. With law enforcement behavior under unprecedented scrutiny, it’s vital to take steps now to restore and or preserve reputations and to gain the public’s trust.

There are two lie detection screening technologies for job applicants from Converus that can help hire trustworthy staff and identify any “bad apples” currently part of the staff.

Converus says EyeDetect can spot a liar in 15-30 minutes by measuring involuntary eye behaviors. Over 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies currently use it to screen job candidates and conduct investigations. Departments of corrections use it  to hold those on probation or parole accountable. Depending on the type of test given, it’s 86-88% accurate.

“Used in conjunction with polygraph, EyeDetect has been a huge benefit for our agency,” said Idaho State Police Captain Matthew Sly. “EyeDetect takes a lot less time to run somebody through a test. In just under an hour, we can usually have an applicant through the EyeDetect test with a result back. It was previously taking us three hours with polygraph.”

For law enforcement agencies that require polygraph be used in screening officers, Converus just released EyeDetect+ 2.0, the first automated polygraph. It’s 89-91% accurate. By automating the polygraph testing process, any potential polygraph examiner bias is eliminated. It monitors and records physiological activity — similar to a traditional polygraph — as well as the same ocular data from the standard EyeDetect test.

“This automated polygraph test doesn’t care about a person’s race, age, gender, hair length, or number of tattoos,” said Converus President and CEO Todd Mickelsen. 

Test data are collected and then analyzed by an advanced algorithm. Credibility assessment experts say this automation increases the reliability, objectivity and speed of the testing process, which assures an impartial and more honest determination of the examinee’s innocence or guilt. 

Another significant difference, says Mickelsen, is the uncomfortable blood pressure cuff has been replaced with two small wrist sensors. In addition, the test takes less than half the time of a traditional polygraph.

“EyeDetect and EyeDetect+ eliminate any potential human bias based on a job candidate’s age, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation and accurately identify trustworthy officers to hire,” added Mickelsen. “All examinees are treated equally.”

It’s been 100 years since the invention of the first modern-day polygraph by John Augustus Larson — a former Berkeley (CA) Police Dept. officer — in 1921. Lie detection innovation over the subsequent years was limited until 1991 when scientists Dr. John Kircher and Dr. David Raskin invented the computerized polygraph. EyeDetect was introduced in 2014.

With an estimated 2.5 million polygraph examinations conducted annually by U.S. federal, state and local entities, Converus is hopeful polygraph examiners will be quick to adopt EyeDetect+. 

“Since EyeDetect+ uses similar questioning protocols as polygraph, it’ll be easy for polygraph examiners to transition to this new technology,” said Mickelsen.

For more information, visit converus.com

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