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Polygraph Training: DOD (Department of Defense) Program Meets Standards but Expansion Requires Better Planning

NCJ Number
Date Published
40 pages
This study assesses the effectiveness of the U.S. Department of Defense's (DOD's) training program for its polygraph examiners, reasons for the proposed expansion of the training program, and the program's administration and management.
The polygrapher training program met or exceeded almost all available criteria. DOD's polygraph examiners are trained at the DOD Polygraph Institute at Fort McClellan, Ala. The program exceeded the requirements of most other polygraph schools to which it was compared. It requires students to conduct 50 training polygraph examinations and to serve a minimum 6-month internship. The Polygraph Institute is accredited by the American Polygraph Association and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1988, DOD plans to begin construction of a new building costing $1.9 million. This will enable the program to train 108 examiners a year, using a single shift. An examination of workload projections and training capabilities indicates DOD does not need a facility as large as that proposed to train the number of examiners required to satisfy projected requirements. DOD could attain the required number of examiners in about 2 years with current capacity, using double shifts as needed. The program is generally well administered; however, recommendations are offered for additional improvement. Appendixes contain a discussion of the status of previous General Accounting Office findings on this subject and comments on this report from the DOD. 1 table.