KITCHENER -- The OPP had warned the public that police were not stopping people to check their "essential worker" status after receiving complaints about a man impersonating an officer in Wellington County last week.

"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," Wellington County OPP acting inspector Paul Richardson said in a news release on Wednesday.

On April 14, police said a man pretending to be an officer stopped a driver and requested proof they were an essential worker.

After the man received the information from the driver, police say he returned to his vehicle and left the area.

The man was wearing a black long-sleeve shirt and a ballistic vest with the word "POLICE" in yellowish-orange letters across the front when the incident took place, police say.

Police said at the time he was driving 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.

OPP are reminding people that if you’re stopped by an officer in plain clothes driving an unmarked vehicle you can ask for the officer's identification or request a uniformed officer be present during the interaction.

Police add you should call 911 if you suspect that person is not a police officer.


This is a corrected article. A previous version suggested a man had been charged for impersonating a police officer.

In fact, that man was charged for impersonating a police officer in a separate incident in Wellington County.