Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross for Congress

Polk Sheriff Judd, Congressman Ross Join Forces for Protecting Our Children Act

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Polk Sheriff Judd, Congressman Ross Join Forces for Protecting Our Children Act
By Daniel Figueroa
The Ledger

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross have joined forces to legalize the use of polygraphs in screening job applicants who would work around children.

Ross, a Lakeland Republican, introduced his bill, HR 2618, or the Protecting Our Children Act, in Congress last week. The bill would create an exception in the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, which makes it illegal for private employers to use polygraph tests — also known as lie-detector tests — for pre-employment screening.

Ross and Judd held a news conference at the Polk County Government Center on Monday to discuss the bill.

Under Ross' bill, job candidates who would have regular access to children, care for children or interact with unsupervised children could have to submit to a polygraph as part of pre-employment screening for jobs in the private sector. Under current law, only public agencies, such as public schools, can require polygraph tests for potential employees.

Judd said this would allow employers to identify someone who could be a threat to a child but has never been arrested and therefore is not a registered offender.

Currently, information on convicted and registered sex offenders pops up on a background check.

However, Judd said, there are people who have an inclination to sexually abuse children who have not been caught. Aside from an employer taking a job applicant's word for it, Judd said, there is no legal way to determine whether someone is likely to harm a child.

"They are out there," Judd said. "All we have to do is give the tools to the employers to weed them out and keep them away from our children."

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