Officials won’t say whether local OPP officers were involved in Ottawa operation

WELLINGTON COUNTY – The massive police operation over the weekend to clear anti-vaccine mandate protesters from Ottawa involved federal, provincial and local officers and resulted in close to 200 arrests, nearly 400 charges and over 70 vehicles towed.

But it remains unclear how many, if any, Wellington OPP officers were involved in the operation.

The Advertiser sent a Feb. 18 email inquiry asking for information about local officers being deployed to the nation’s capital and requesting a phone interview about the matter.

Instead, spokesperson Jacob Unger provided a generic email statement that offered no details pertaining to the newspaper’s request.

Asked for clarification and, if possible, the number of local OPP officers involved, Unger replied, “I cannot provide specifics to ensure operational effectiveness and officer safety.”

He added, “That said, I can assure you that the OPP remains committed to providing adequate and effective policing services to the communities we serve.

“We will continue to ensure that public safety needs in our communities are met for the duration of these special circumstances.”

Unger’s original reply stated, “The OPP has a dual role of providing municipal policing and also provincial policing supports, as required. If a municipality is unable to meet the policing needs of its community, the OPP is mandated under the Police Services Act to provide additional policing support.

“While this event is unique, the OPP routinely supports other police services and is prepared to consider redistributing resources as requested by police leaders.”

It continued, “The OPP will continue to maintain a high level of service to our communities. We will take all appropriate actions to maintain public safety in the communities we serve.

“Any OPP resources required to support the provincial mandate or other police services will be balanced with the need to continue to provide adequate and effective policing services only for as long as necessary.”