Police Polygraph Test Questions

Police Polygraph Test Questions – Commonly Asked Questions

I get all sort of emails from potential recruits about the polygraph test. They want to know how to prepare for it.  Some of the emails are genuine from enthusiastic applicants who sincerely want to get hired and become good cops.

However there are other candidates with no moral compass, who just want to “beat” the system. I call them “holster imitators” and I hope they NEVER get a job in law enforcement anywhere. They don’t deserve to be a police officer.

They are the type of candidates who scower the internet, high and low looking for any information on how to cheat on the polygraph.

According to the very popular ebook, How To Pass Your Polygraph, the idea of reading books/websites that teaches you countermeasures to cause (or curtail) a certain reaction that will skew the test’s result is a complete waste of time.

I know this article sound like I’m getting ready to go on a rant, but here’s some of the down right unethical questions I get from some of these people who supposedly want to be cops. You judge for yourself if these people are not going into the wrong profession.

Here’s some of the emails I get concerning the polygraph test:

“Hey Officer Forestal, how can I beat the polygraph test?”

“Can you show me how to trick the examiner?”

“Can you offer any techniques that will help me avoid any questions about past drug use”

“What’s the best way to stall the examiner but don’t send a message that I’m actually stalling”

“Are there any over the counter medicine that I can take that will help me fool the polygraph?”

You’re Gotta Be Kidding Me Right – You Asking About Over The Counter Medicine.

When I get emails like that I get a bit irritated because if you want to become a police officer then your mind-set shouldn’t be about trying too “beat” or “trick” the examiner. If that’s your mentally, please click away from this site as I’m only interested in helping people who are serious about becoming high character cops.

Since I know there are good people out there who follow my blog, and read my emails. I decided to write a few questions that you should prepare to answer during the polygraph test. Remember if you are confused about a questions, ask the examiner to perhaps reword it or explain it to you.

My rule of thumb is to ALWAYS tell the truth no matter how embarrassed you are about a particular event in your life. The purpose of the polygraph is not to eliminate those candidates who are honest. In contrast it was designed to screen out those that are untruthful. Hope this helps.

Listed below are common questions that you’ll be quizzed about by the examiner during your polygraph test:

  • Did you misrepresent or lie about any information on your employment application?
  • Did you intentionally withhold any information on your application for employment?
  • have you falsified information in your background
  • Have you ever in your life been terminated from a past job?
  • have you committed a crime that you were not arrested for?
  • Since the age of 18 have you been convicted of a crime involving domestic battery?
  • Over the past calendar year, have you used illegal drugs at least twice in a given month?
  • Have you used any drugs besides marijuana in the past 12 month?
  • Have you ever distributed marijuana and / or additional illegal drugs in the past 3 years?
  • Have you ever previously stolen greater than $500 worth of products within any specific year from any one of your employers ?
  • Have you stolen greater than $500 in money within any one calendar year from any one of your former employers?
  • Have you ever in your life used a scheme in order to defraud former employers?police-polygraph-questions-illegal-drugs-lie-detector-test
  • Have you ever gotten your drivers license suspended and / or revoked for any reason?
  • Have you ever received more than one traffic citations in the past three years?
  • Have you intentionally lied to the examiner to any one of these questions?

Pass The Test Guaranteed!

Sorry for the rant, but I had to really set the record straight that police work is for high character individuals. Sadly there are too many of the “holster imitators” who slip through the crack.

CLICK HERE to download an ethically written book on how to pass your polygraph.








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51 Comments on Police Polygraph Test Questions

  1. Hello Officer Forestal,

    I recently took a polygraph test for a police agency in Texas. Needless to say, but I failed the test. All the reviews that I’ve been reading are saying to tell the truth, and that’s what I did. I have a misdemeanor for poss. of marji from 1999. The part of the exam I failed was the section dealing with the drugs. I’m a 2LT in the Army and haven’t touched that stuff in 11 years. What approach can I take to ease my nerves the next time I take the exam?

  2. Simply relax and don’t get too worked up about the questions. You might be getting too worked up, and as a result it is showing deceptive.

  3. Hello Officer Forestal,

    My husband just took the polygraph test for the MD State Police. He passed all questions with flying colors except one. The question was “Hvae you ever had any sexual cinduct with an animal?” My husband answered no but a certain incident years ago popped into his head when he and some friends had a food fight so my husband wanted to take a quick shower to wash off. Needless to say while turning the water on his dog at the time wound up licking his private parts. We both know that the dog was going after the food but never even thought that would be considered sexual contact. The examiner re-tested him on that question and he then passed. The examiner said he will go to bat for my husband and a decision will be made within a weeks time as to wheather or not he can re-take the polygraph if not he will have to wait a year and reapply having to do everything all over again In your opinion do you think this was fair?
    Thanks so much for your time,
    Jai Taylor

  4. Mr. Forestal,

    Is it possible that you contact me via email in regards to college, and courses that I am taking? I am about a year, and a half into a BS in IT, with a two year degree in CJ following. I would like to know if there is a site, or any advice you might give me for options that these degrees might open up for me.

    Thank you for your time.



  5. Hi Officer Forestal,

    I am applying to become an Emergency Communication Offcier. And I am now on the second part of the recruitement process (out of 5). I am scared about the criticall testing. i dont know what I am expecting in that exam.

    I read your blog… and you are very helpful. you think you can give me a clue as to what to expect in the criticall test?


  6. you will undergo several rounds of scenarios that mimic life as a dispatcher.

    The test will measure fast-thinking, clear judgment, accuracy and lighting-fast typing ability. The process allows agencies to make their best choice when hiring a prospect. It will also allow you to see whether or not that kind of high-stress environment, is something you can handle for 8 hours per day.

    Multi-tasking is the name of the game for dispatchers.

  7. Hello, I am 16 and I’ve decided that I would like to become a police officer. I am not worried about anything within the process of becoming a police officer except for this polygraph test. I am not very good when someone interrogates me. When someone asks me questions like that I tell the truth, but it feels like I’m lying. I tell the truth, but I blush and feel like I’m lying. My heart pounds really fast. Is there some sort of way I can take an unofficial lie detector test just to see what it’s like? Also what suggestions would you have for someone of my age who wants to become a police officer. I have never done any of those things mentioned on the lie detector test.

  8. Hi, i want to become a police officer in 4 years after college. However, i have done illegal things in my past and think it will affect me during the pollygraph. Since those acts i have straightened up my life and I am on a clean road. Will my past stop me from becoming a police officer in the future?

  9. im worried about the polygraph, ive made some mistakes in my life that i dont do anymore, but i feel like ive made myself out to be a bad person. out of the wuestions you have posted. which one if answered yes, would be a no go of being a police officer?

    thank you

  10. The main goal of the polygraph is to determine if you are going to be honest. It’s really not about your answers as the examiner is looking for deception. The bottom-line is to tell the truth no matter how embarrassed you are about your past.

  11. I am going thru the bkgrnd investigation for deputy sheriff position. If i’m honsest about drug use past, will I automatically be disqualified. It was my past but I’m scared being totally honest will haunt me. Shouldn’t I take my chances knowing now I will be nervous during test!

  12. I strongly recommend that you tell the truth… If you lie, you will get DQ’d for sure. You won’t get canned for telling the truth.

  13. While reading all of these posts and having my own concerns about the polygraph test, I feel quite abit more comfortable knowing what ill be jumping into. Just really like to thank you for having this blog.

  14. Thanks. The blog was created for people with good moral characters, who are interested in law enforcement. I had no one to help me when I was going through the selection process. This is my way of giving back.

  15. ok, so when i turned 18 i started smoking pot. i smoked a lot of pot, like everyday for about a year. i realized shortly after i turned 19 that my life was going no where and that i would change. since then i joined the us army and straightened my life up. i have not smoked pot or used any other drug since September 2008. (btw, i have only used pot) i get out of the army in 2014 and plan on pursuing a career as a police officer. i was never convicted or arrested for anything in my life not even a speeding ticket on my record. also on domestic violence, i have never hit my wife or another woman but one time i stopped my wife from getting into the car by i guess way of force. really i just put my arm out and blocked her from getting back into the car but realized it was a bad situation so i just got out of the car myself and walked away from the argument. cops never called. will these situations keep me from getting hired??? i am a very honest person and i plan on being 100% honest with the department about my past.

  16. Greetings Officer Forestal,

    I was molested as a kid which contributed to my sexual behaviors during my teen years. Would this be an automatic disqualify concerning questions about sexual conduct on the polygraph? Also questions concerning termination from a job, I was terminated because I did take money though I never charged, could I be charged for telling the truth?
    I am married and have a daughter which is why I want what is best for her. She is my number reason for wanting to become a Police Officer.

    Thank you,

  17. Hello officer,
    I was arrested 5 yrs ago for theft of property 1st. Got off with YO and 3 yrs probation. Since then i have not had any trouble with law enforcement, and have considered applying to my local agency. Slight drug use in the past (2 yrs ago.) Will these things DQ me from the start even tho it was a youthful offender charge. I am enrolled in a local college debating on whether or not i should keep my major at criminal justice. please give some insight. thanks

  18. Officer Forestal:
    I just applied for the position of police officers with a few agencies. I feel pretty good about the whole hiring process. I’m confident that I can pass the written/agility tests. However, I have to admit, I am a little nervous about the polygraph test because I never took one before. I also heard that sometimes, even if a person is telling the truth, if he/she is too nervous, may fail the test. There is a particular reason why I am nervous. In the application there was a question asking “Have you ever used illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, speed, steroids, downers, etc?” The possible answers were “yes” or “no”. I answered “no” to this question. I wish there was “I don’t know” answer option. Something happened in my high school years. A girlfriend of mine came to my house one evening. I cannot recall the exact date; I assume that it must have been in my high school years because the girl who came to my house was someone I lost contact with after high school (I went to high school between 1987 and 1992.)She came with a guy I did not know. During the evening, this guy put some sort of white powder on the living room table (without no one asking for it)and said we could try if we wanted to. I do not know the nature of the powder, or or even remember if the guy ever mentioned the nature of the powder. The only thing I remember is that I took a sniff of it (pushed mainly by peer pressure), as by him instructed. I remember feeling my nostril numb and my heart starting to beat a little faster. That’s all I remember. I have not seen that powder prior or after that episode. The reason why I answered “no” to the question is because I did not know(and I still don’t know)the nature of that powder. Therefore, in my opinion, if I don’t know what it was, answering “yes” to the question would have been lying. I do not even know what heroin, cocaine, speed, steroids, downers, etc. look like or what effects they have on the body. What would be the best thing for me to do? I really want to become a police officer. I firmly believe in honesty and integrity even if this could cause me not to get hired. I just do not know how to approach the whole thing. Please help!

  19. I’m very interested in becoming a LEO. However my past is not perfect. I’ll cut to the chase. I’m not worried about anything but two things. There are two undetected crimes I committed in the past that I will have to confess to. They are stealing $40 dollars from a previous employer between 00-01, and paying for sex multiple times between 03-05. Will most department dq me for these acts? There’s no excuses for what I did. But I would appreciate it if you could give me some advice.

  20. Oh, and also I got caught stealing a sport pants when I was 17. I was taken to a juvenile center by the police but the store didn’t file any charges and I didn’t have to go to court. Please give me some insight. I tried contacting the PD I want to apply for but no answers. I don’t want to waste my time if I’ll get DQ.

  21. I got dq’d 5 years agonfor lying about employer theft on the poly for LAPD. Im now gonna try los angeles airport PD, will my previous poly record hurt me?

  22. hello I would like to work for the police I am 25 years old . whene I was young I had problems with autority and since I am 18 I have changed and would now like to work for the police . if during the polygraphe test I told them that I have sold marijuana whene I was a minor and that I had comited a crime that I was never arrested for do you think that they would accept my application? thank you for every thing

    kind regards .

  23. I am 20 years old and I have no criminal record and am a criminology student now. I am in the process of applying for positions within the police department while I finish school. These positions require a polygraph but I am not going to be sworn in officer. Now, in the past I had a habit of stealing. It was never more than a shirt or earrings but it happened on a few occasions. The most recent incident was within the last 6 months, but before that it had been a while since I had stolen. I can show I had a rough time with credit, grades, as well as stealing and recently my grades, credit, and everything have definitely become significantly better. I know it was wrong and am not continuing in this bad habit, but my only passion is criminology. Do you recommend I wait some time before I apply since it was recent or do you believe if I am up front about it all I still have a chance? Also, in the long run, is it likely this bad habit will prevent me from finding a job? Thanks.

  24. Hello officer Forestal;
    I’m 27 years old female, last year I took the polygraph for BCSO in San Antonio,TX I didn’t lie I told the truth the examiner told me after I took the test that I passed and I was moving on to the psychological part of the process. I was so excited to move on because I currently work in the jail but as a civilian. Thinking I passed 2 weeks later a former officer friend I knew told me hey I need to talk to you, comes out that he’s friend with the examiner and he told him I didn’t pass and it’s because I told them about my past of trying a drug, I went back to HR and the lady told me I would have to reapply that It wasn’t what they wanted to hear! So a year has gone by and I passed my written exam and pyshical but I’m worried about my polygraph a friend told me used and tried are 2 different denfintions? I changed my life and am a single mom trying to show my 2 little boys they have someone to look up to. This happened 7 years ago and its part of my life I’ve been working at the jail as a cilivian for 3 years would it be good to get a recommend lettered from someone? Thank you for your time!

  25. Rose,

    I’m kinda shocked that you got disqualified because of that. Getting a recommned letter from your pastor or a trusted professional can’t hurt. I would still be honest about your past drug use when you take the polygraph again. I believe that possibly your drug use was too recent. Some departments have a disqualification policy on past drug if it is too recent,

  26. Hey officer forestal I just stop smoking pot like 2month ago and want to turn my life around and be a police officer. Would this dq me from the ly dictector test?

  27. Hi Officer

    I am applying for a few police departments and am worried about my homicidal past. Will i be dq’d for talking about homicides even though i wasnt convicted? Got off on conspiracy and insufficient evidence. Should I lie? Thanks

  28. Officer Forstal, I’ve wanted to become a police officer since I was little. Its been the only profession I’ve really been interested in. I made a mistake back in high school (graduated class of 09) by trying ecstasy. I really had no desire to do the drug but I was going through some hard times and I was trying to get back with an ex girlfriend which did the drug and I saw it as an opportunity to win her back. It was the only illegal drug I have ever tried and I fear that it will ruin my chances of becoming a police officer. Do I still have a shot?

  29. Hello, I recently just went through everything at the Charleston PD in SC. I had an emergency dental surgery on a Saturday and had to have my bone sawed on in my mouth to get my tooth extracted (I thought there was still enough tooth for it to be pulled) while awake. This was in April (surgery) and then in July of 2011 (the interview process). I went in did the agility, polygraph, psychology, written exam and the board interview. I feel as though I did exceptionally well since they didn’t send me home (as they did with someone else) but let me proceed through everything.

    Please tell me I did the right thing by telling the truth. I couldn’t go to a doctor to get Tylenol with codeine so I took only one of my mom’s since she had the same surgery (a few months before me) unfortunately the numbing was wearing off on the drive home which lead me to need something immediately. Obviously the pain was way too great with all of those blood vessels in the head (hence the Tylenol with codeine) and I took only regular Tylenol after every 5-6 hours. I could only drink broth and the man I so heartily refer to as the polygraph man said he would’ve done the same in my situation since I explained the situation to be the same as I’m posting it now.

    I’m also an air force veteran with a college degree at the age of 32. Being back in a uniform is my one of my greatest passions just to serve. Had I known that I was having a surgery like that then I would have went on the Friday to the VA center and gotten a prescription pre- filled (that would’ve been easier to schedule then my emergency Saturday surgery). I’m only praying I didn’t mess myself up for telling the truth for something that was totally out of my control. Also I cited what the drug was and the reason for taking it on the paper and everything else checked out because I believe in my body being my temple. I love to reserve clear judgment and have been told I need to loosen up. Regardless my main question is would this be a big disqualifier? Please let me know.

  30. Hello Officer, My question was since police deparments polygraph applicants and ask. Have you ever done a crime you did not get arrested for? can they use that against you and throw you in jail if the crime was like breaking in a home when you were a juvenile or theft.

  31. hello officer. i am currently looking to apply for a job as an officer. im thinking about going to school for police studies for 2 years. by the time i am done i will have been 3 years clean slate on drugs. i have stolen in the past when i was 18. and have had escort service in europe 1 time. will they use these against me if i complete the civilian discolsure form out. or admit this stuff on the poly? how good are my chances with this kind of past behaviour. even though i am a father and a true sincere individual. what do you think?

  32. Your chances are just as good as anybody… Simply be up front about your past discretions

  33. What if a candidate says he smoked pot but doesn’t say anything about other drug use (like pills or coke), would they know you’re lying?


    have you used drugs within the past 12 months?

    Yes, I’ve smoked pot on occasion.

    would that candidate get DQ’d ?

  34. Ok, first of all your a total idiot. “I hope they never get a job in law inforcement”. So you dont think theres a bunch of people on here who did things when they were in high school in their teens and are scared about some questions they might ask during that? Oh sorry, you must have been one of those kids who went straight home after school and ate his dinner at 6pm with his happy family. Not everyone has that luxury and some of us grow up on the streets where we have seen and done things that we wish we could take back. In my opinion those are the cops you need the ones that know the ins and outs. Not the ones who grow up with a tinted perspective on the real world. your welcome.

  35. @kyle
    Obviously you didn’t get the overall purpose of the article, and why I made that comment. It might help if you read the article through and through, paying particular attention to the middle portion of the article.

  36. Hey Kyle,

    You need to show a little more respect on this blog. Your little outburst shows not only me but I’m sure everyone else reading this, that your definately not the type of officer anyone is looking for. The type to just go off with disrepect like an angry teenager. I’m sure Officer Forrestal understands a lot more than you think you know.

  37. Thanks for the website. I have a question. I took a polygraph about 5 years ago in CA. I was so nervous and the polygraph examiner was so intimidating that I ended up making things up about my past that never happened just to appease the examiner. I got a letter saying I was placed on a hiring list after that so I don’t know if I passed or failed. Well, after that I decided I didn’t want to go into LE. Now I’m deciding to give it a go again. I’m wondering would it be best to just say yes I’ve taken a polygraph before or should I explain that I admitted to doing things that never happened and tell them why. Would there still be a record of this poly? I don’t think any of the things would be an automatic DQ but I don’t want to have to say I did these things just to stay consistent because I know it will sound strange trying to explain this. Thanks in advance.

  38. my question is can they arrest you if you have committed a crime and were not arrested..Like do you have to tell them every crime you have committed?

  39. Hello Officer,

    so I\’m going to be taking the polygraph for a TS clearance. I already have a Secret Clearance from a different job, but I\’m worried about the poly for the TS. Reason is, when I first applied for an S Clearance, I answered one question incorrectly, about if I ever saw a psyc professional. It said \"say no if it was for marriage or grief\", and I assumed grief to include stress, and I saw a counselor cause I was very stressed at that time. Anyway, I wrote in my ts clearance that I had seen someone before I was 18, cause I only want to be honest as always. Will my error on the first one constitute lying? I figured I should tell them at the beginning of the interview, just so they know. I don\’t think this will be an issue, but just wondering?

  40. I was just wondering if someone can help me out with this question i have! I am almost done with my BD in CRMJ and i am 23 years old My GPA is 3.75 (which i think wont matter much in the hiring process) but couple of years ago i shoplifted from a store couple of times and never got arrested or anything. I wish i could go back in time and stop myself but i can not. Now am afraid that i wont get a job in Law enforcement and will be labeled as a thief. I have a clean background and never did anything else. So will this automatically disqualify me from becoming a police officer? PLEASE help me by answering

  41. Hey i was curious, are those the only questions asked? I believe someone told me they ask Have You smoked marijuana in the past 5 years. I mean that would be challenging, Because if its just a one year thing then ill be golden. Does Anyone know?

  42. Hello Officer

    So right now I am 20 years old and have decided to start moving towards a career in law enforcement. I will be going back to school this fall to finish my general studies and required classes for my degree in criminal justice, which gives me alot of time to prepare. My problem is this, like almost everyone on here, I made a stupid decision 2 years ago and fell for the whole dont knock it until you try it crap and I tried some weed. when I say tried I literally took maybe two hits and that was it. By the time I would be ready to take the test that would be 4 to 5 years behind me, but it haunts me in a sense that I did it and I dont want that one thing to mess up a career I want, and obviously the biggest thing I can do is be honest, but I just dont like the idea of my mistake possibly costing me a job.

    What else can I do to make my resume be more desirable when including the one time drug use? or maybe something to give me some peace of mind.

  43. While at my polygraph test today I was asked if I ever watched porn or took a naked picture of my self? I responded yes I said I have watched porn with my bf and took nude pictures to send to my husband through my cell phone nearly 4 year ago, will this hurt my chances of passing the test?

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