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Professional Ethics and Polygraph Examiners

NCJ Number
Polygraph Volume: 38 Issue: 1 Dated: 2009 Pages: 72-76
Randal F. Mueller
Date Published
5 pages
This paper discusses the importance of professional ethics (integrity, truthfulness, honesty, and fortitude) for polygraph examiners and how it can be promoted.
The by-laws of the American Polygraph Association address the issue of ethics. Polygraph examiners are charged with maintaining the highest standards of professional, moral, and ethical conduct by assuming responsibility for conduct and behavior designed to serve the causes of truth and justice. This involves respecting the dignity of all persons and being just, fair, and impartial with each individual in the course of performing professional duties. Polygraph examiners must insulate themselves from influences that would benefit their political, personal, or financial well-being while exercising their professional responsibilities. These ethical features of the performance and intent of polygraph examiners is particularly important because the quality of their performance and decisions can have a significant impact on the lives of those they examine. Ethical behavior is influenced by both internal individual factors and external controls. The internal factors involve the degree to which individuals perceive themselves as responsible for their actions. Ideally individual examiners will control their own conduct because of their personal commitment to the excellence of their profession and the importance of the quality of their performance. Still, there are external influences that can erode an individual’s commitment to high ethical standards. These include the system of rewards and punishments related to the outcome of examinations; unit directives, policies, and procedures; customs, traditions, and precedents; available resources; and time constraints. 13 references