Following the recent public safety emergency alert, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to thank the public for their cooperation and patience. Our top priority is always your safety. We appreciate the steps taken to protect yourself during this fluid, dynamic and complex investigation.
On the morning of February 10, 2023, Lanark County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) received information from the Smiths Falls Police Service regarding a stolen vehicle. The OPP was able to locate the vehicle travelling northbound on Highway 15 in Beckwith Township. Officers utilized a spike belt and the vehicle was stopped just outside Smiths Falls. The driver, Dale Lewis SCOTT, was the lone occupant and was arrested at the scene.
During the investigation into the stolen vehicle, Lanark OPP received information that two additional men, armed with a handgun, had been in the vicinity of Beckwith Recreation Complex on 9th Line. These men both have a history of violence and multiple criminal convictions.
An initial search began to locate these men, who were believed to be at large in Lanark County or Sharbot Lake. In the interest of public safety, the OPP posted warnings on social media and issued an emergency alert to notify residents of the potential threat.
Public safety emergency alerts are only issued when there is an ongoing, urgent and significant threat to life. The purpose of the alert is to share critical and potentially life-saving information with the public quickly. One of the criteria for an emergency alert is that the threat is neither isolated nor contained. Because the suspects were at large, the emergency alert was issued to surrounding townships and municipalities.
The OPP has an obligation to balance the public’s right to know and the individual’s right to privacy. The names and photos of the suspects were released to the public to ensure that those in the area could take appropriate steps to protect their safety.
An extensive search of the area was immediately launched, involving OPP Aviation, Tactics and Rescue Unit, Emergency Response Team, Canine and officers with the Lanark Detachment. During the ensuing investigation and search, the OPP determined that there was no longer an ongoing, urgent and imminent threat to public safety in the area. As a result, the alert was lifted.
While the investigation indicated that the situation no longer met the criteria for a public safety alert, the two individuals named in the alert continue to have outstanding warrants for their arrest in relation to other incidents. If you see these individuals, do not approach them. Anyone with information regarding these individuals should contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous online message at www.helpsolvecrime.com where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2000.
Dale Lewis SCOTT, age 26 of Drummond-North Elmsley Township was initially charged under the Criminal Code with:
- Dangerous operation
- Flight from peace officer
- Operation while prohibited
- Possession of stolen property obtained by crime
Following further investigation, SCOTT has also been charged with:
- Public mischief
- Mischief under $5000
- Operation while prohibited under the Criminal Code – two more counts
- Fail to comply with probation order – three counts
- Driving while under suspension – Highway Traffic Act – two counts
The OPP recognizes the emotional impact that receiving an emergency alert can cause. The decision to issue an emergency alert is never taken lightly. The OPP is committed to both public safety and continuous improvement. With each alert, we look to further refine and improve the emergency alerting process. We would like to thank the public again for their patience and cooperation.