Two OPP officers have filed complaints with the Human Rights Tribunal with claims they are experiencing PTSD and that the police force has “failed to accommodate them.”
According to Lawrence Greenspon, the lawyer for both men, the two Leeds County OPP officers — Cnst. Jason Redmond and Cnst. David Vogelzang — were targeted in an undercover police operation in 2015. As a result, the men filed human rights complaints alleging that the Ontario police force was harassing them due to their struggles with mental health.
“Both officers were clearly diagnosed with PTSD from the trauma they are exposed to in the course of their work,” Greenspon said. “Instead of trying to provide them with programs or counselling or access services, what the OPP has done really nothing to try and help these officers. Instead, they’ve gone after them with disciplinary charges; in the case of officer (Cnst.) Vogelzang he was acquitted of any charges and they’re still going after him with disciplinary proceedings.”
Greenspon says in the case of Cnst. Redmond, the officer attempted to take his own life while on the job. After attending rehabilitation and counselling, he became the target in the undercover sting not long after his return.
“In bringing the human rights complaint, our hope is that the matter is first accepted and then investigated by the Human Rights Tribunal,” Greenspon said. “We’re confident they’ll find the officers have not been treated fairly or properly by the OPP, at that point there will be an invitation to both sides to sit down and try and mediate the officers’ situation and we’re hopeful that process will work.”
But if that doesn’t, Greenspon says they’re prepared to go to a hearing and “let the public see what happens for these OPP officers and others.”
“The Human Rights Tribunal is in a position to order changes in the practices and policies of the OPP, and they’re also in the position to provide some kind of money recognition of what these officers have been through,” Greenspan added.
The two men are also alleging harassment in their complaint.
Both men at the moment, Greenspan confirmed, are on leave.
"It's amazing to me that officers continue to take their own lives and the OPP does nothing in terms of accommodating and helping these officers," Greenspan said.