29-year police veteran facing 6 counts involving a juvenile and an adult
By Karin Larsen, Chad Pawson, CBC News, Dec 29, 2016
A veteran Vancouver police detective, who in 2015 received a special citation for his work on a sexual exploitation investigation, has been charged with sexual exploitation.
Det. Const. James Fisher was arrested Wednesday and faces three counts of sexual exploitation, one count of sexual assault, one count of breach of trust and one count of attempt to obstruct justice, according to court documents obtained by CBC News.
‘Very troubling news’
Vancouver Police Chief Const. Adam Palmer said one of the victims is a juvenile and another an adult.
Palmer called the charges against Fisher “very troubling news” and said they are “not reflective of the other members of the police department,” at a hastily called news conference on Thursday.
Fisher — a member of the force for 29 years — has now been suspended from duty.
In 2015, Fisher received a Chief Constable Unit Citation for “extraordinary dedication” for his work in the Counter Exploitation Unit.
He was the lead investigator in the unit’s recent human trafficking investigation that led to the conviction in September 2014 of Reza Moazami of 30 counts of prostitution and sex assault-related offences involving 11 young women between 14 and 19 years old.
Fisher received special recognition from the provincial government for “exemplary leadership in community safety and crime prevention.”
Fellow officer came forward
Palmer said a fellow officer came forward with concerns about Fisher in March of this year and an investigation was immediately called at that time.
“The details I can share are limited, as the matter is before the courts,” said Palmer of the charges Fisher now faces.
Palmer also said that B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner was also involved in the case from the beginning.
“It is rare for a VPD officer to be charged with offences such as these,” said Palmer. “There is no information to suggest that another officer was involved.”
The charges against Fisher relate to allegations from August 2015 to November of this year.
Palmer denied that any Creep Catcher group — those that look to use false online social media accounts to out sexual predators — were involved in Fisher’s case.
But Vancouver’s top cop did say that because Fisher was involved in numerous investigations, the force will be reviewing those.
Bail with conditions
Fisher appeared in court Thursday morning, but the details of his bail hearing are subject to a publication ban.
The conditions of his bail, however, do prevent him from contacting the victims as well as several other people and agencies listed in the court documents.
His next appearance is scheduled for January 24, at Surrey Provincial Court.
Meanwhile, Palmer said he was very upset by the news about Fisher and tried to downplay the impact it could have on the reputation of his force.
“Every day, our officers are faced with very difficult and challenging situations,” said Palmer. “Our officers build strong relationships with the community, and they act with integrity, courage, compassion and respect.”