You haven’t seen it in a movie or on television yet, but law enforcement agencies in Atlanta, New Orleans, Nashville, Baltimore and Miami have been using something other than the polygraph — some of them for years. Even the California Highway Patrol relies upon it. What is it? It’s the technology polygraph loyalists love to hate that’s at the center of the decades-old “turf war” described in my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.
In a news release issued today, officials with the National Association of Computer Voice Stress Analysts list it as an accurate and efficient crime-fighting technology that, like DNA analysis, helps clear the innocent and find the guilty:
Law Enforcement Embracing Improved Accuracy and Efficiency of New Crime Fighting Technologies
LEWES, Del., March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Innocent people are being exonerated in record numbers as new technologies such as DNA become more sophisticated and the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) is increasingly being used for truth verification instead of the old polygraph. This is according to Clifford Payne, an Investigator with the Atlanta (GA) Police Department who also serves as a Regional Director of the National Association of Computer Voice Stress Analysts, an organization representing the nearly 2,000 US law enforcement agencies that utilize the CVSA.
“As law enforcement professionals, our main goal is to make sure only the guilty are prosecuted,” stated Payne. “With the refinement of DNA testing we are now better able to accurately determine where the criminal justice system failed in the past as innocent men and women, some whose lives are ruined forever, are being released from prison on a regular basis. This is in no small part due to organizations such as the Innocence Project, improved DNA testing, and the help of technologies such as the CVSA.”
Miami-Dade (FL) Police Det. Lisa Morales is among the thousands of detectives that have experienced this first hand. Det./CVSA Analyst Lisa Morales reported that a female subject was accused of repeatedly stabbing her ex-boyfriend and children’s father. There was an adult male witness that implicated the female and uniformed officers were poised to arrest her based on both men’s statements even though the female insisted that she was being “framed” by the two men. The investigating detective just had one of those feelings and asked if Det. Morales would run a CVSA exam on the female. She passed and the “witness” ultimately confessed that he stabbed his uncle and they conspired to have the female falsely arrested so that the father could get custody of the children because the female refused to reconcile with him. According to the NACVSA, this is just another example of the CVSA exam being used to clear someone rather than implicate them. (Read more Real Cases at CVSA1.com/realcases.htm)
Payne stated that before the CVSA, law enforcement had to rely on the old polygraph. “Our main problem was that 30% of polygraph examinations are ‘inconclusive’, meaning that there were no discernible results. With the CVSA, there are always correct results 100% of the time. When you also take in to account that it takes eight weeks to train a polygraph examiner and only five days to train a CVSA examiner, plus the fact that polygraph exams take between 2-3 hours and the CVSA exam can be performed in 1 hour with perfect results, it is clear which system to use.” The Atlanta Police Department discontinued the polygraph in 2003 in favor of the CVSA.
Major US law enforcement agencies such as those in Atlanta, New Orleans, Nashville, Baltimore, and Miami, as well as the California Highway Patrol, depend upon the CVSA to investigate criminal cases as well as for screening police applicants. “As an investigative and decision support tool the CVSA has proven itself to be invaluable to law enforcement,” stated Lt. Kenneth Merchant, of the Erie, PA Police Department, who serves as the Legislative Affairs Director for the NACVSA.
To understand the entire story of this turf war between polygraph and CVSA®, order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO.