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5 Suggestions to Help Stop Police Impersonators

5 Suggestions to Help Stop Police Impersonators

Andrew Hawkes / PoliceLink

Law enforcement officers across the country share information everyday about suspected police impersonators that are roaming our streets, conducting traffic stops, committing crimes, often violent in nature, and then driving off into the abyss with little information other than “A white car with lights and a male in a dark uniform with some unknown type of badge”.

Stopping these offenders, or at the very least hindering their illegal operation doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. It is funny to me how some of the lawmakers of our state can over look such small loopholes in our statutes that sometimes create huge problems.

For example, in Texas, we have quite a few offenses that involve criminals impersonating police. Here are a few of my suggestions that the legislature could act upon to help curtain this problem:

1. Stop selling used retired squad cars to the general public. We drive Ford Crown Vic police interceptors that are simply stripped of the decals and sold at auction to anyone that wants to pay $3000 for one of them. The next thing you know is you’re on patrol and you can’t tell if it’s a detective from a local agency or an impersonator. Everyone from volunteer firemen to minimum wage security guards are driving white Crown Vics with spotlights and dark tinted windows. This practice has to stop.

2. Write new and tougher legislation on flashing lights and strobes. Don’t allow everyone and their mother to have some sort of variation of strobes that are legal. Narrow the statutes and be extremely specific about the use of all types of colored strobe lights and limit them to emergency vehicles only.

3. For the love of God come up with a standardized, across the board uniform for all private security guards and companies and make sure that they do not resemble police uniforms in anyway. I’ve seen marked uniforms and security “patrol” vehicles that are exact matches for the Dallas Police Department and the only difference is the tiny wording on the patches or car.

4. Enact legislation to stop the practice in law enforcement agencies to drive unmarked, colored squad cars. When you see an unmarked, colored squad car, you still know it’s the police, so what purpose do they serve? They are not covert so mark them out or drive something more covert.

5. We live in a society of scam artists, even in law enforcement, We as officer’s must be more lenient when it comes to the average citizen wanting and expecting more “proof” that we are indeed the police. These impersonators have created this problem. But, because of this problem, as a cop I have to be patient and not be offended if I need to show someone my ID card, let them read the wording on my badge and patch and even hand everyone that I encounter my business card. I tell my family if they ever question someone who looks like a police officer that stops them to ask for these things, and if you are a real “cop” you should have no problem comforting them. It can’t be an ego thing; it must be handled as a safety issue.

God bless the men and women in blue that put their life on the line to serve and protect. And if you are one that wants to be a fake to commit crimes, watch out, because we are coming for you.


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  • L_d08c7900d00c4e15943731af85a62eaf_max50

    FIRE5643

    over 4 years ago

    2 Comments

    I understand your concern, and the issue is undoubtedly critical to public safety. However, in regards to VFD's. Those that are authorized by the chief of the fire department to operate under emergency traffic guidelines in their personal vehicles provide the sheriffs office with all of the information of the vehicle including a general description of the vehicle. This does help to reduce the problem, but then again doesn't eliminate the issue. This is a great article, thanks.

  • -paxp-deijejanuary2012bingoforhomelessfamiliesutahcyberslutsorg_max50

    tmkjusticestudies

    over 4 years ago

    784 Comments

    Excellent Article. I have seen and heard of first hand what happens when Pseudo Cops AKA Security Firms act and look like police officers. It is unacceptable. Here in Utah some security firms have very similar uniforms and vehicles as local police agencies. I thank all legitimate security companies that do a much needed job, I will however condemn those who are pseudocop.

  • Bayou_032_max50

    UNIT111D

    over 4 years ago

    478 Comments

    Good Article

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    sdaugh7261

    over 4 years ago

    8 Comments

    As much as I liked this article, you seem to have a underlining issue with Security Guards. You make multiple "attacks" toward there uniforms and there vehicles. The reason your department sells the vehicles at auction is so they will have addition Income to the purchase of the next Squad Car. It does not matter what Security Guards Uniforms look like, Yes we all agree that they do resemble Police Officer and there vehicles need to be marked a little better. But there being mistaken for Cops also helps prevent 30% of crimes. I have had many times where people ask me if I'm a Police Officer and I have to tell them no. But when push comes to shove its not the Uniform, It's not the car. It's the man in both. I can take lights and throw them in any vehicle and buy "Police" looking uniform online. The person who is going to commit the crime is gonna find a way to do it no matter what you do. I can order LED's offline and build my own lights. But it comes down to the man. No amount of restrictions is going to do anything to change this.

    For the Record I am one of these Security Guards with one of the Most respected firms in my state and the four States surrounding me. Police in my state run red/blue lights, fire and ambulance red/white, Tow and highway amber/white, And Security Green/White. we all know who each other is and we all have gotten along great. I'm friends with about 50 some officers and not one of them has a complaint about my car. Its my POV, 2001 retired Ford CVPI, Black, antennas for my radios, strobes in the lights, green light bars inside behind tint, tinted windows and a push-bar. and in big wonderful letters it says "SECURITY"

  • Pi_82_max50

    K9TXSTL09

    over 4 years ago

    2 Comments

    This is very true , They should be sent to USMC boot camp/ Give them a dose of the Real World.. If they tap out they go to JAIL w/a Felony if not See what they do then ..

    Also you can buy POLICE Gear/Lights/Everything off Ebay and Craigslist ......... So Not to sure why there are not laws against that .The Bad Part is LEO are the ones Selling alot of the Stuff.

    Cause in point , I have a friend not a LEO bought a FULLY LOADED POLICE CAR , Everything in it,From a LEO Off Craigs List.I called the LEO and asked him why he would sell a car will all that stuff to anyone Said moneys money . Well I bought the car from said Friend . and Selling it NOW ... This is a bad practice by ALL!! So we all need to figure out a way to control the uncontrolable .

    Just my two cents . An No IM NOT A LEO, but i work with Alot of them . And They Agree

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    I LIKE this article!

  • Badge_max50

    rechatham

    over 4 years ago

    32 Comments

    Well impersonating a police officer in the state of Georgia is a felony. I like the ones were they got fired from another agency and try and give you some bogus ID card that the agency could not get from them. We call all the time to verify if someone is an officer/deputy with whatever department they claim to work for.

  • Daddy_max50

    RobertHoven

    over 4 years ago

    40 Comments

    There's a Rat in the Nest, We need to come up with somethimg, Don't get mad because a car won't pull over on some dark road right away, Give them a chance to call 911 and find out if your the real deal or some skiflap, Then try to understand when they do stop that maybe the're scared. If it were me on a routine trafic stop, I would call over the loud speaker, ask them to call 911 to verify I am who I am. If they're gonna break and run, they're gonna do it anyway and maybe that will keep us(yall) from taking a bullet from some skiflap. This is the world we live in, But we have got to try to leave it a little better.

  • Suz_suit_pic_blk___white_max50

    SWIRTHS

    over 4 years ago

    222 Comments

    good article

  • Globe_eagle_anchor_max50

    gammyland

    over 4 years ago

    438 Comments

    Solution...Shoot on sight!

  • Imag0010_max50

    enforcer107

    over 4 years ago

    46 Comments

    What about the volunteer Fireman that are allowed by there department to run strobes in there vehicles when responding to an emergency situation of some sort.Cause wether it is a retired police cruiser or not anyone can fix a vehicle up to look like and old cruiser.

  • Wings_max50

    copper5817

    over 4 years ago

    892 Comments

    mtty...think that through...do you really want impersonators to have the knowledge of our protocols to back up their disguises?

    "Make the offenders go through the Michigan State Police academy or some similarly difficult academy.
    They want to be cops so bad let them work for it. I failed the MSP academy after another and I was
    able to pass my yearly PRT for the Army Guard at the time!. After they are done give them a pych
    eval and send therm to work with a police officer for 50 hours a week without pay, if they can
    complete all of the requirements and have passed the academy ask them if they still want to be a
    cop. I barely made 2 years I had enough"

    I think that this is a bad idea. Rather, we need to make it clear that if you impersonate a cop you WILL go to jail. It used to be that being convicted of a felony meant something. Nowadays you can get the felony day pass and never have to do time, free to continue felonious activities day in and day out with the public as your oyster.

  • 4a43d2b5_max50

    we5150

    over 4 years ago

    202 Comments

    Good article well put

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    good article,very good info

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    2pe3y7dpb8

    over 4 years ago

    250 Comments

    fsa,
    I'm all in favor of gun owners. I've got a pretty good collection myself. But a CCW badge? YOU might not abuse it, but if they are out there, OTHERS WILL. There is no need for those things.

    As far as flashing your badge to LE to show that you are not the bad guy? You better re-think that one. Flashing a badge doesn't mean a thing. If there is a shooting situation, you better be prepared to hit the floor with everyone else when I (or any other LEO) arrive on scene. Flashing a badge to me doesn't mean you aren't the "bad guy." I've personally arrested impersonators with fake "badges" so that means nothing. Stay safe and thank you for your service.

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