A 24-year-old man has been charged after police said a man was posing on social media as a staff sergeant with the RCMP.
“Having a person pose as a police officer is disconcerting,” Staff Sgt. James Matsune with the Edmonton Police Service said.
“Collecting law enforcement memorabilia can be a fun hobby, but it is absolutely inappropriate to portray yourself as a police officer and convince others you are, as well.”
Edmonton police began their investigation in May after they were notified of “suspicious social media accounts where a male was identifying himself as a law enforcement officer.”
On June 2, police searched a home in the area of 30 Street and 22 Avenue, where they found a large amount of police equipment, uniforms, paraphernalia, electronics and identification documents.
Edmonton police said they did not seize any weapons.
Police said a man posing on social media as “Taylor Kayden” claimed he was a staff sergeant with the RCMP’s ERT Tactical Squad. Officers believe the man was posing as an officer to try to recruit others and provide law enforcement advice.
The man would introduce himself as an authority figure, participating in car enthusiasts’ chat forums and meet-up groups, police said.
The suspect is also believed to have created his own tactical unit called “Strategic Incident Response Deployment Teams.”
Sgt. Barry LaRocque with RCMP K Division wanted to make it very clear that the man has no affiliation with RCMP.
“I find it very concerning. Our relationship with the public is built on trust and this would undermine that trust and it’s very serious. That’s why it’s been taken very seriously.”
The seriousness of the investigation was reiterated by members of the EPS.
“Edmonton police have built a pretty good relationship, a really good relationship, with the public, built on trust,” said Det. David Corcoran. “If somebody is out there portraying themself as a police officer, it can breech that trust very quickly.
“It is concerning and that’s the point of the investigation, is to kind of nip this in the bud and deal with it is as it is.”
Police are still investigating to determine if he wore a uniform in public, but added he may have been creating his own uniforms, including shoulder flashes.
Imran Hamid Khan, 24, is charged with five counts of personation of a peace officer and five counts of breach of recognizance.
Corcoran said Khan was known to police but he would not elaborate.
“I can’t get into any previous history that he has.”
Anyone who may have spoken with the suspect is asked to call police at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.