(COUNTY OF WELLINGTON, ON) - Wellington County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have received complaints about an individual impersonating a police officer and stopping people to check their "essential worker" status amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 14, 2020, a male impersonating a police officer stopped a motorist asking for proof they were an essential worker. The driver provided him with the information requested. The suspect then returned to his vehicle and left the scene.
The suspect is described as male, Caucasian, 30 - 40 years old, short dark hair in a brush cut, some scruff/unshaven facial hair. The male was wearing a black long-sleeve shirt and a ballistic vest with the word "POLICE" in yellowish-orange letters across the front, but not the back.
The suspect vehicle is described as a black four-door sedan, possibly a Ford Fusion or Ford Taurus, with a blue strobe light on the dash and a small aerial antenna on the trunk.
Those stopped or approached by an officer in plain clothes driving an unmarked vehicle are within their rights to ask for the officer's identification or request a uniformed officer be present. Those individuals should also call 911 if they have reason to believe the person is not a police officer.
"The OPP is not conducting random traffic stops to check motorists' work status during the COVID-19 pandemic, nor are drivers required to prove they are an essential worker to police." - Acting Inspector Paul Richardson, Detachment Commander, OPP Wellington County.
Members of the public may refer to either opp.ca, publicsafety.gc.ca or covid-19.ontario.ca for up-to-date information regarding restrictions under federal or provincial orders.
Any person with information on this incident or one of a similar nature is asked to contact the Wellington County OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit a tip on-line at csgw.tips .You may be eligible for a reward from Crime Stoppers of up to $2,000.