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Case of the lying 'doctor' leads to police reserve polygraphs

Apr 06 2012

Saanich police reserve constables must now take a polygraph and have their background reviewed extensively by two officers who do nothing but vet applicants for the volunteer position.

The procedures came into place after Jason Walker, a Saanich reserve constable, was found to have faked being a medical doctor and expert in forensic and behavioural sciences and medical epidemiology.

Walker pleaded guilty to two charges of perjury - he lied about his credentials while testifying as an expert in two court cases - and one of using forged documents. He was given a community-based sentence of two years less a day, served under conditions but not in jail.

The Saanich and Oak Bay police departments welcomed 26 new reserve constables this week, bringing their contingent to 50. Reserve constables help officers in a variety of ways, including on holiday weekends, at roadblocks and as a representative of the police in the community, Jantzen said.

The background check is more stringent now than it was when Walker was a reserve constable almost three years ago.

"Any time an organization in policing is faced with a situation like we were - of course, we're going to learn from those experiences," Jantzen said. "We are a learning organization, and I'd like to say we've done a better job this time around. Really, only time will tell if we have."

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