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Former Wash. Cop 'Failed' Polygraph, Sues Over Job Loss

January 28, 2013  | 

Screenshot via KING 5.
Screenshot via KING 5.

A former Snohomish (Wash.) Police sergeant sued the county sheriff, after he was denied a job with the agency following a polygraph test.

Donald Loen, a 17-year veteran of the agency and Washington State Patrol, had applied for a job with the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office after his agency was disbanded. Officers were offered jobs as deputies provided they pass a background test, which included a polygraph.

Loen was asked if he sold drugs and responded that he may have been paid for a nominal amount of marijuana as a teenager 23 years ago. He was told he passed the test, but later denied a job, reports KING 5 News.

Tags: Cops Suing Agencies, Polygraph, Disbanding Agencies, Snohomish County (Wash.) Sheriff


Comments (11)

Displaying 1 - 11 of 11

RICHARD ISAACS @ 1/28/2013 6:20 PM

YOU DON'T GIVE MUCH TO GO BY. WHY WAS HE DENIED THE JOB. BECAUSE HE SOLD SOME POT 23 YEARS AGO OR SOMETHING ELSE IN HIS BACKGROUND. OR COULD IT HAVE BEEN HIS ATTITUDE TOWARDS BEING ASKED TO TAKE THE TEST. AS A RETIRED POLICE POLYGRAPH EXAMINER, I CAN TELL YOU COPS GO INTO INTERVIEWS AND POLYGRAPH TESTS EXPECTING TO BE TREATED LIKE PRIMA DONAS. THEY RESENT HAVING THEIR INTEGRITY QUESTIONED AND IN MOST CASES HAVE DONE SOMETHING DURING HIS OR HER YEARS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT THAT MIGHT BE CONSIDERED QUESTIONABLE. I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MANY TIMES OFFICERS LOOKING FOR A JOB CAME INTO MY OFFICE AND TRIED TO INTIMIDATE ME WITH STORIES OF THEIR HEROIC DEEDS. GUESS THEY DIDN'T SEE THE BADGE AND GUN ON MY HIP.

Doc @ 1/28/2013 7:23 PM

It's no wonder that the polygraph can't be used in Court, because while some of the guys giving the test, are decent people and treat you good, there are some that treat you like you did something wrong. I have dealt with some that feel free to talk down to you, and I'm sure they knew what people thought about them. Some of these guys were just crude and rude, and I know for a fact that some people fooled them, while they failed others that they just didn't like, or to please a Chief of Police. The above case sounds like the officer got treated bad.

Sgt. Mike @ 1/28/2013 7:31 PM

Richard, I wonder if you know that typing in all caps appears to other readers as if you are yelling or very angry? If you are not aware, I'd like you to know that doing so gives the other readers the impression that you are a hostile commenter. This puts other readers in a defensive mindset and may cause them to reply to you accordingly. If you decide to write the exact same paragraph normally, it is not likely to illicit that reaction.

Nichole @ 1/29/2013 5:23 AM

Sgt. Mike... I'm not sure why you care. I read his paragraph and it didn't come across with any intonation other than the one he was intending, despite the all caps. I guess I can just wrap my brain around it better...

James @ 1/29/2013 6:46 AM

Just another example of the flawed polygraph. When will the state of Washington wake up and realize it is time to move away from this "lie detector". The polygraph protection act and the rulings by multiple courts both federal and state about the inaccuracy of machine should be a clue.

Jim A @ 1/29/2013 1:11 PM

The polygraph is only one tool used in a background check. Where it is not scientifically accurate, it is a good "research tool" from which operators seek further information. I have seen them work with suspects and I have gained immediate confessions. Polygraphs are CERTAINLY better than a psychological examination, which in many cases is no better than tea leaves or a ouija board.

And I use capital letters to accentuate. Don't like the all caps - but I am not going to argue about it. So have qood day, y'all.

Bud A @ 1/29/2013 4:47 PM

I was about 25 in the mid 60's and applied for the P.D. at a city in California. I had completed the written, physical agility, oral interview,and background and was brought in and told I was # 1 on the list I just had to do one more step, a polygraph. Fine by me, nothing to hide. It began, first with the standard forced lie on the color of the pencil then we began to get personal and I mean personal. The entire direction was about my sex life, not if I was gay but about the number ob women that I had bedded. I had been single for many years and I did not keep track. Once we got to a certian number the test ended. I was not hired. 18 mos later another opening was posted, and out of spite I applied, thist time, suprise, siprise!! NO POLYGRAPH! I was hired as I again was # 1 on the testing. Several years later I applied with another very progressive and large department, a polygraph was given, aced it! I retired from my career as a L.E.O. with my B. A. Degree and my head high, one proud cop!

John @ 1/30/2013 4:29 PM

I think alot of screening procedures are b.s. True, you want the most stable applicant to receive the job, but you never really know what is in a persons mind. I assume every officer in recent times has gone through some sort of a screening process. So, why have some officers become corrupt, violent and hostile? Is it due to poor screening or a lack of ongoing accountability and supervision?

I heard a story of a highway patrol applicant who was turned down, but was later accepted to the Secret Service. I don't know which division. It may have been the uniformed division. Even so, the applicant would now be able to protect government property and indirectly help protect politicians/dignitaries, yet not be able to issue a speeding citation.

Joshua @ 1/30/2013 4:51 PM

I think we will find out soon enough that this case goes beyond a "failed" polygraph. I was a deputy for Snohomish County. I have seen the names listed as the respondents in the suit. I've met this former Snohomish officer on stops several times. If I was going on what I know of the internal workings of the Sheriff's Office, and that's a lot, this cop got a bad deal.

Allen @ 6/1/2014 9:30 AM

I was given a conditional offer at a PD. Took the VSA. Questions about coca in and marijuana were asked. I truthfully answered no to both. Results came back said I was deceptive in cocaine and truthful in marijuana. PD allowed VSA again, same PD, same person giving VSA. Same questions but now said deceptive in marijuana and truthful in cocaine. I was denied the job after that. 2 conflicting results.

Willie Russell @ 6/12/2014 7:27 AM

Joshua was a deputy and had personal knowledge of the inner workings of the Sheriff's office and says it was bad? As law enforcement officer did he report the bad going on at the sheriff's office? NO...JUST THE BLUE LINE OF SILENCE. Joshua is guilty of being a bad cop....

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