Some members of the current recruit class of more than 100 failed polygraph tests on their background.
“More than a handful” were rejected by other law enforcement agencies before they applied at DPS.
Others have been promoted from the training academy and put to work despite a recommendation that they be dismissed.
Some recruits in the past even got in despite admitting criminal behavior of some type during interviews.
“Wow!” exclaimed Commissioner Ada Brown of Dallas.
Despite some recruits’ deception on the agency’s polygraph tests, “you give him a badge? I have a problem with that.”
Certainly it's problematic if troopers are given a badge over the recommendation of those who trained them, or if they've admitted to serious, past criminal activity.
But if someone was rejected by another department because that agency thought they found a better candidate, that shouldn't in and of itself disqualify someone from working for DPS. (If they were rejected for some specific cause, that's a different matter.)
Equally unfair would be to rely on polygraph testing, which amounts to junk science at its worst, to deny potential troopers employment. I don't know why anyone still thinks these things are reliable. As one critic put it, "There's something about us Americans that makes us believe in the myth of the lie detector. It's as much of a myth as the Tooth Fairy."
I'm as concerned as anyone on the Public Safety Commission about misconduct by state troopers, which is why I believe DPS' Internal Affairs division should be substantially beefed up. But denying someone employment because they "flunk" a polygraph test - or for that matter relying on polygraph results to discipline officers - is bad public policy with no legitimate scientific basis.
IMO, DPS should toss its polygraph machines on the junk pile and instead focus on more exhaustive background checks performed by actual human beings if they want to prevent bad apples from becoming state troopers.