Polygraph Bill Approved By Frederick County Legislative Delegation

It now goes on to the General Assembly.

Annapolis, Md (KM). A bill to allow the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office to administer polygraph tests to prospective employees at the Adult Detention Center who have close contact with inmates was approved by the local Legislative Delegation. But the vote was not unanimous.

State Senator Karen Lewis Young (D) voted “no.” She said she had some questions about whether were any instances which necessitated the use of lie detectors tests before someone is brought on board. “Were there one or two or a dozen that would suggest that this would have presented a problem,” she said. “And what I was told is that there were no specific instances.”

“We’re putting forward a solution in search of a problem,” she continued. .

Delegate Ken Kerr (D) had similar comments.” “There’s no real reason or past experience to suggest  this is necessary. I don’t understand the motivation for it, or a complete understanding of why it’s needed,” he said.

But Delegate Jesse Pippy (R) supported the bill. “It’s not unheard of. It’s not uncommon. And I think what this does is it probably closes the loophole because these  individuals are not, per se, employees of the correctional facility, but they’re coming in regular contact with the inmates,” he said.

State Senator Bill Folden (R) said doing polygraphs on employees with close personal contact with inmates is important. “The reason behind this is transparency. We all want to strive for transparency. We want to make sure we have people in key positions that have access to some of the people that are committing crimes in our communities and ensure that their integrity is intact. That they’re not going to be smuggling contraband in, “he said.

Delegate Karen Simpson (D) had some concerns about polygraph tests. “I do have a lot hesitation about polygraphs,” she said, citing her background in child welfare. “They’re not reliable.”

Senator Folden defended polygraphs. “This is a tool that’s been vetted,”: he said. “It is a part of a multiple piece tool kit to ensure that we’re doing our part, and our due diligence to put the best people in those positions that come into contact with some of the worst in our communities,”: he said.

Correctional officers are already subject to polygraph tests before being hired at the Adult Detention Center.

The legislators who voted in favor of the bill were Delegates Pippy, April Fleming Miller (R), Barrie Cilliberti (R), April Rose (R), William Valentine (R), and Chris Tomlinson (R) and Senators Folden, Paul Corderman (R) and Justin Ready (R) . Those voting in opposition were Senator Lewis Young, and Delegates Kerr, Simpson and Kris Fair (D). .

The measure will go through the General Assembly process, which includes committee hearings and a vote.

By Kevin McManus