Driver stopped by fake cop in Oxford County

Photo courtesy of OPP West.

Provincial police in Oxford are searching for a suspect after someone impersonating a police officer pulled over a woman to check her “essential worker” status.

The woman was stopped on Braemar Sideroad at Highway 59 near Tavistock the first week of April by a vehicle that appeared to be an unmarked police SUV with a flashing red and blue light bar on the roof. An individual from the SUV, wearing clothing that resembled a police uniform then approached the woman and asked for her essential worker status.

The woman provided the individual with information and was able to leave without incident. She reported the encounter to police on April 24.

“The OPP do not stop motor vehicles to inquire about the employment status of the driver or its occupants. Drivers should also know that they are not required to prove they are an essential worker to police,” said Oxford OPP Inspector Anthony Hymers.

Since last month, OPP have had several reports of individuals impersonating police officers in Wellington County, Essex County, and Saugeen Shores. In each of the cases, the suspect was driving a vehicle that was outfitted with flashing lights and wearing clothes that were similar to a police uniform.

Two people have been arrested in connection with the traffic stops in Wellington and Saugeen Shores. It is not believed the incidents are connected.

Anyone convicted of impersonating a police officer can be sentenced to up to five years in prison and fined $5,000.

Police advise drivers stopped by someone they suspect is a police impersonator to stay inside their vehicle and immediately call 911. If it is safe to do so, they should also try to write down a description of the suspect, the suspect vehicle and the license plate number.