Polygraph: Cape's New Weapon to Fight Crime
By: Tiffany Sisson
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO --Until now, a number of police shared polygraph machines with Southeast University, the Missouri Highway Patrol, and the Perry County, Missouri Sheriff's Department. Cape's police department now has a new polygraph. Tiffany Sisson sat in the hot seat to find out how this completely digital technology picks out moments of truth.
Yellow walls, a white chair, countless cords tied into technology, everything about the examination room speaks volumes about the word intimidation. "Your heart starts racing, your hands get sweaty, your breathing changes. These are all the things that we monitor here," explained Detective Don Perry. Perry recently returned from train at the Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Center near Annville, PA. It lasted 12 weeks.
With Tiffany in the hot seat, and Perry's finger on the keyboard, we get ready to unlock the truth. The polygraph test starts with a test. Perry writes a series of numbers, leaving out one. "Write the number 3 for me," asked Perry.
Perry wants Tiffany to lie about writing that number. It's a way of letting the computer know what's a lie and what's the truth. "The machine shows what your general nervous pattern looks like," explained Perry.
The polygraph records breathing changes, electrical impulses, and heart rate. While Tiffany is nervous about the test, she's not facing any consequences of getting caught. "That fear of detection will make physiological changes in your body because of that fear," said Perry.
The test are primarily used to weed out the good people. Cape County Prosecuting Attorney, Morley Swingle said, "I'd rather resolve a case with a polygraph, than find out an innocent man was charged with a crime."