Representatives of the local police officers’ association said they’re being kept in the dark about the status of dozens of polygraph tests administered to Royal Cayman Islands Police officers and civilian staffers within the past year.
“It is still hanging over our heads,” RCIPS Inspector and Police Association Chairman Rudolph Gordon said during a lengthy interview with the Caymanian Compass last month. “A lot of officers feel that there is this thing overshadowing them: uncertainty.”
The Caymanian Compass first reported in September that dozens of RCIPS officers had been required to take polygraphs – also known as lie detector tests – as part of a “vetting process” by their employers.
Other than a one-line statement sent to the newspaper in September, the police service has steadfastly refused to comment about the initiative and why it was being done.
“We haven’t had anything in terms of how many passed and how many failed [the polygraphs], but what comes back to us is the majority of officers failed,” Mr. Gordon said. “The majority of officers failed, and they’re not sure what their position is. One particular officer….for two and a half hours, he was forced by the polygrapher to admit he committed a serious crime.”
The Royal Cayman Islands Police officers association confirmed earlier this year that some of its members met with Police Commissioner David Baines over officers being polygraph tested. Mr. Gordon said those meetings were generally one-on-one discussions between that officer and the commissioner.
In September, the Caymanian Compass reported that some 40 officers were given the tests, but Mr. Gordon said it was believed that more people had taken the exam, including some civilian employees.
“It is not RCIPS policy to comment on our vetting procedures,” read a statement from the commissioner’s spokesperson that was issued in response to questions from the Compass last year.
A few officers have stated that they were unable obtain the results of polygraph tests they have taken.
Police association board member, Sergeant Betty Ebanks, said she wasn’t aware of any cases that involved police officers or other RCIPS employees being forced to leave the service because of their polygraph test results. However, she said the RCIPS command staff had not communicated with the association regarding the testing of specific individuals.
“Because the polygraph happened, the way it happened, and the results from what we gather happened, the officers….they still feel that things that may happen to them in the organisation, the commissioner or his designates may be treating them differently because of that,” Mrs. Ebanks said. “That is the perception”
“We were told as an association that by ‘X’ time [the police commissioner] would be speaking to all of them [referring to the officers who were polygraph tested],” Mrs. Ebanks said. “We weren’t told who they were. Yet those same officers had to open up and come to us.”
“We have no closure,” Inspector Gordon said. “Whatever the results are, whatever you’re going to be doing in relation to the result of it should be done, but you can’t just have it hanging over the officer’s heads.”
The polygraph tests were among several issues discussed with the police officers’ association as part of an upcoming crime series in the Caymanian Compass.
The series is expected to feature in the newspaper later this year.