If this is how your police think you can weed out the bad apples, this Tennessee town is in trouble.
A police chief hired to rebuild a tiny Tennessee department dismantled by scandal is using a lie-detector test to keep racists off his force.
Coopertown Police Chief Shane Sullivan took over the department in November, becoming the 11th chief in as many years. He was hired on the heels of a series of police scandals that for a few months left Coopertown with no police at all. Years before that, a mayor was voted out of office after the local prosecutor accused him of racism and running a notorious speed trap.
Law enforcement experts say Sullivan’s polygraph approach is unusual, though some departments use the devices for other purposes during the application process.
Sullivan said he doubts racists will even apply for the force if they know about the tests.
The new chief intends for his lie detector idea to help clean up the Coopertown’s image. Candidates are required to answer whether they have ever committed a hate crime or a race-based crime.
Several problems with this story. Lie detectors are bogus and don’t do what they are alleged to do. Many people don’t admit they are racist and when asked via polygraph will not appear to be lying so their body will not react (which is what is picked up by the lie detector) giving a false negative result. A person who is nervous about the test MAY overreact to the questions and appear to fail the test giving a false positive result. Racism and “hate” is not identifiable by simple yes or no questions. Define “hate crime”. And what about the particular nuances of a situation especially if it took place long ago? I would wonder if this is even legal! But it appears he is using the threat of the test to scare unwanted people away. I would be VERY concerned about what other nonsense tactics this police chief is using. What a mess!