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April 25, 2014

City council considers putting polygraph fees on applicants

Police, fire candidates would be reimbursed upon passing test

Logansport City Council will vote on an ordinance that would require applicants to the city’s police and fire departments to pay the costs of their polygraph tests, which would then be returned if and when they pass.

Logansport Police Chief Mike Clark told city council members in a committee meeting Wednesday the measure would allow the police department to avoid financial losses as it continues to work toward becoming fully staffed.

The police department currently funds the costs of the tests. Each one runs $200, Clark continued, which the department loses when an unworthy applicant attempts to beat the polygraph.

The proposed legislation would require applicants to provide this $200 for their polygraph test. Council members expressed Wednesday a desire for this amount to be repaid to the applicant if they pass the test regardless of whether or not they are hired.

“If they pass the polygraph test, they should get their money back,” said Logansport City Councilman Chuck LaDow.

Logansport City Councilwoman Teresa Popejoy added she would like the ordinance to state applicants must be informed of this requirement at the beginning of the hiring process.

Funds acquired from those who do not pass the tests would go to the polygraph examiner and not the city, Clark added.

Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin expressed his support for the measure by telling council members 13 applicants have failed polygraph tests recently, accruing a cost of $2,600 on the city.

The Logansport Police Department, which has had an applicant-polygraphing policy intermittently throughout its history, brought the practice back about two years ago.

“It’s a great tool in the hiring process and it’s a necessity,” Clark told council members Wednesday.

In December, city council approved an overage transfer allowing the police department to purchase its own polygraph machine. An LPD officer is currently being trained in the discipline at Eastern Kentucky University, Clark said. Once trained, the officer will use the machine for investigations. A member of the West Lafayette Police Department will continue to conduct LPD and LFD applicant tests, as it is more appropriate for an outside agency to do so, Clark continued.

The council will vote on the measure at its next meeting at 5 p.m. May 5 in the City Council Chambers on the third floor of the City Building, 601 E. Broadway.

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