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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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  • 50_bkemblem_sq90_max50

    mjones0089

    over 4 years ago

    408 Comments

    Good Article

  • Txbadge_max50

    CenTexCop

    over 4 years ago

    50 Comments

    Well, coming from an agency that for years would not equip its patrol cars with spotlights because it might harm the resale value--that's right, reduce the utility of a vehicle for its intended purpose so that you might sell it off for a few more bucks at auction years later--I have to agree with the first point.

    The fifth point I think is well taken, but it has gone too far already. I don't mind proving my credentials to anyone genuinely concerned, but too many motorists feign suspicion as an excuse for driving for miles before pulling over or refusing to hand over their DL for a fully uniformed officer in a fully marked black and white patrol unit with a lightbar on the roof. We're not talking about some generic looking PD car, either, but a highway patrol car with STATE TROOPER emblazoned all over it.

  • Super_troopers_max50

    mtty

    over 4 years ago

    114 Comments

    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.

  • 432nd_tfw_patch_max50

    fsa0033

    over 4 years ago

    324 Comments

    I agree with any and all suggestions to protect the public against scammers and impersonators. Since I live in a high crime area, I do have a CCW permit and a CCW badge. It clearly states Conceal Carry Weapons Permit Arizona. It looks like a DPS badge but the words are clear and simple. I would never use it for any other reason but to identify myself to police or the Sheriff's department for a brief moment that I'm not the bad guy in a shooting situation. There should be stiff laws for individuals that try to dupe the public with official regalia and uniforms.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    3rdgencop

    over 4 years ago

    4 Comments

    Don't forget the problems with bicycle patrol and a slightly different uniform.

  • Logo_20bus_20card_max50

    GaryB1956

    over 4 years ago

    66 Comments

    I'm a volunteer firefighter and have carried a dash mounted strobe for almost 19 years now. But I agree with all the comments listed above and if it help to eliminate the problem of impersonators either register my lights just like a pistol and require me to requalify yearly to keep it. I would willingly give up my strobe and run code 1 to all alarms if I had to although I have the luxury of belonging to a very large VFD so there is always someone there within two or three minutes. Sometimes I think that would be the best to run code 1 anyway given the young turks in our department who will run code, lights, horns, flashers, whatever to arrive at a smoking ballast in a light or a pot on the stove. I have also discovered that sometimes my light makes the civilian drivers in front of me react in strange and unpredictable ways, like slamming on brakes in the middle of the road.

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