Police association chief cleared in investigation

The chairman of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Officers Association has been cleared in connection with an administrative investigation brought against him by the department last year.

RCIPS Inspector Rudolph Gordon said Monday he had received a letter from Police Commissioner David Baines indicating the investigation had been concluded and that “no charges would be brought against me”.

The nature of the probe, according to Mr. Gordon, had to do with his conduct as chairman of the officers’ association in relation to polygraph tests – often called lie detector tests – that were given to a number of police officers and RCIPS civilian employees in 2010.

In early 2011, commenting on why no details of the tests, given to more than 40 officers within the police service, had been released, Mr. Gordon said officers felt as though the issue was “overshadowing them with uncertainty”.

“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 at the time. “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 Caymanian Compass has seen copies of correspondence sent by Commissioner Baines to Mr. Gordon after the statements the police association chairman made to the newspaper appeared in an April 2011 article. The contents of that letter are not being released by the Compass for legal reasons, however it was clear the police commissioner was not pleased that his inspector had addressed the issue in such a manner.

Mr. Gordon said officials did not indicate he was being investigated for speaking on the record with the Compass, but he believed speaking to the newspaper did play a role in the department’s internal investigation.

“The allegations – from our understanding of it – stemmed from my conduct in relation to the polygraph testing … my representation of the officers in relation to the matter,” he said Monday. “The association felt that it was unwarranted and … there was no basis in law to carry out those enquiries [against Inspector Gordon].”

Police commanders declined to discuss Mr. Gordon’s case, citing department policy.

Police association secretary Sergeant Betty Ebanks said Mr. Gordon met with the group’s governing body and discussed the various issues with the polygraphs before going to the newspaper.

“As chairman, he acted for a body of people,” Mrs. Ebanks said. “That decision was made by eight of us, not Mr. Gordon alone.”

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has steadfastly refused to discuss why the polygraphs were being administered to officers and civilian employees within the department, other than a one-line statement that was sent to the Compass in September 2010. The police service stated the polygraphs were done as part of a “vetting process” by the department.

Mr. Gordon and Sergeant Ebanks said Monday that, as far as they were concerned, the matter of the police officers’ polygraphs was finished and it was time for the RCIPS to move on.

Inspector Gordon said it was personally difficult for him to face an internal investigation, but he believes he was ultimately found to be in the right and he will continue to represent the police association on issues that matter to his membership.

“The association felt that [the internal investigation] was an attack not only on myself, but an attack on the association,” Mr. Gordon said. “When I took over the association, I perceived some of the challenges … but I knew what I was doing was right. I personally have no fear in representing officers’ welfare.”

The police officers’ association numbers have swelled within the past year, going from 169 officers to 221 officers paying dues. The police association represents all officers within the RCIPS, but it offers legal services on behalf of those dues’ paying members.