Police Impersonation is a common crime and a problem nationwide. It is a ruse used by violent criminals to get their victims to let down their guard long enough to rob or assault them. Most people trust or fear authority enough for this tactic to work. Those who realize the risk of police impersonation are also in danger of mistaking a real cop for a fake one and being charged with resisting arrest.
Ways To Spot Impersonators
The first thing you want to do is check the cruiser.
Signs of an Impostor Cruiser
1. Disrepair: If the cruiser looks old, or shows any signs of wear, that’s a
major red flag.
2. Non-reflecting decals: Decals on a real police cruiser are reflective. Look
for them the sides and on the hood.
3. Out dated lights: Nearly all police cars are now equipped with LED lights.
Their headlights should flash in sync with the light bar on top of the cab.
4. No warning siren: Most police use a short burst of siren as a warning.
5. Non-standard uniform: Watch in the rear view mirror to see that the officer
puts on his uniform hat. If you notice that his uniform isn’t ironed, clean or does not match other police officers in your area you may be dealing with an impostor.
Knock on the Door
It might not be possible to see who is knocking on your door if you haven’t got a window or a peephole in the right spot, but there are a few important signs too listen for.
1. No knock and announce: If they do not say that they are the police loudly and knock loudly it could be a sign they do not wish to be heard by neighbors or bystanders. If you absolutely cannot make visual contact, you may ask for their name and badge number. Additionally, you can inform him that you believe he may be an impersonator and you wish to call 911 before opening the door. Any real cop will probably become irritated, but an impersonator is likely to flee.
2. If you can see the officer make sure his uniform is complete.
Practice Reasonable Precaution
When you’re being pulled over don’t stop in a remote area. Pull over in as well lit and populous a place as you can find. If possible, drive slowly and turn on your emergency lights to let the officer know you acknowledge him and lead him to a parking lot, preferably one owned by an open business.
Alternatively, you can call 911 and ask them if the person trying to pull you over or asking you to open your door is the real deal.