WKYT Investigates | Solving crimes with more polygraph examiners

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - For investigators, getting to the truth through polygraph exams are important way to solve crimes. But finding qualified personnel to conduct those exams can be challenging.

WKYT Investigates discovered there are currently only 48 licensed polygraph examiners in Kentucky.

Students attending the National Polygraph Academy traveled from eight states and Singapore to attend training on the art and science of polygraph. The academy was hosted by the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training.

The students completed 400 hours of polygraph training over a ten-week period. Five of the graduating students were from Kentucky.

Classes on polygraph are rare because police departments don't always have the budget to support such a field.

Pam Shaw, who is the programs director of the National Polygraph Academy, said polygraph is critically important to so many police investigations.

"The art of having a conversation with someone and to identify what they said and what they didn't say and maneuvering through that conversation. That's the key," Shaw told WKYT's Miranda Combs.

"The main goal is to get admissions, to get the truth," explained Det. Tim Crowell with Louisville Metro Police Department. He is a graduate of the class and will become the forth member of his police department's polygraph squad.

"That's why the school is so long and so hard because we are given an awesome responsibility," he said. "I think people have this misconception of polygraph that basically I'm going to come in, sit in that chair, attach this stuff, ask you if you did it and then I'm going to tell you if you are lying or not," he explained.

The process, though, isn't just about movements on a monitor.

Shaw said it's about a relationship between the polygrapher and the subject. Hours are spent before any polygraph test, just talking.

Kentucky has extended requirements for its polygraph examiners to become licensed including completing an internship program and licensing exam, Shaw said.

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