(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
The “Polygraph Law,” requiring periodic polygraph testing for all senior police investigators, passed its second and third (final) readings at a Public Security Ministry Knesset plenum on Wednesday, setting the stage for the bill’s final legislation.
The proposal, created to improve public confidence in the police, would require 400 senior officers, as well as officers in sensitive positions, to take the test based on the potential harm to public safety and their level of security clearance.
It was initiated in May by Likud MK David Amsalem, who chairs the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, and resulted in an immediate backlash by police who deemed it invasive and unnecessary.
“We do believe that some of the very high-ranking officers should be polygraphed, because they have to be above and beyond,” said one police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But we do not think all other officers are candidates for the polygraph, because we do believe that they are honest people.”
According to Amsalem, the bill is intended to aid the police by engendering integrity and public trust, not hinder their work.
“I want to strengthen the hands of the police during these difficult days,” he said on Monday. “The police are at the forefront of a struggle that has been going on for 120 years. Our hearts are with them in their holy work.”
On Wednesday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan – who worked with Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich on an initiative to implement polygraph tests for officers promoted to senior ranks – praised the passage.
“We took a big step today to strengthen public confidence in the police,” said Erdan, noting that officers with the rank of commander and above will undergo the examination once every five years.
“Polygraph tests ensure the quality and integrity of officers,” he added, citing the use of the device at large defense organizations to ensure the quality of the officers and the integrity of the organization.
“Everyone who will be administered the polygraph is an important part of law enforcement and must set an example and have no flaws, making the test even more important.”