Police investigate imposter

Published 10:49 pm Friday, September 30, 2016

The Suffolk Police Department is investigating an incident involving a possible police officer impersonator.

On Sept. 13, an adult male victim reported a suspected police impersonator stopped his vehicle on the Route 58 bypass eastbound about 10:50 p.m. that evening, according to a city press release. The offender asked the victim for his driver’s license and registration and later returned the registration and allowed the victim to leave. However, he kept the victim’s driver’s license.

The offender was described as a white male in his 50s with brownish hair, wearing an officer’s uniform and driving a late model black or blue Chevrolet Impala with flashing blue lights, according to the press release.

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The Suffolk Police Department has been investigating the incident since the initial report to ascertain whether any other local agency had potentially been involved, according to the press release. The investigation remains ongoing.

“Impersonating a police officer is a serious offense and will be aggressively enforced and prosecuted,” states the press release.

The city gives several tips to protect yourself during a traffic stop and to help real police officers do their jobs.

  • Make sure it is a marked police unit. If it is not a marked unit, the emergency lights should be built in and are usually not a temporary light placed on the vehicle.
  • Try to stop in a well-lit area or a location where there are a lot of people present.
  • Turn on your emergency flashers, but don’t turn off your car.
  • Do not get out of the vehicle to meet the officer.
  • Lock your door.
  • Look for a uniform, official department jacket and other equipment used by police officers for the performance of their duties.
  • If the officer is in plain clothes, look for identifying clothing and equipment. If unsure, explain to the person that you are unsure about the situation and ask them to display official department identification and badge. Ask where they work and if you can contact their dispatch center to confirm their identity. You may also request a marked patrol unit respond.
  • Pay attention to what they are asking. Most officers will advise you of the reason for the stop and request your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.
  • If they immediately tell you to get out of the car without any preliminary questions, be suspicious.
  • Trust your instincts. If they don’t seem to be a real police officer, they are probably not.

Some clues that could give away a law enforcement imposter are:

  • Uniform pants do not match uniform shirt.
  • Uniform shirt does not have patches, silver or gold buttons, epaulets on shoulders or pins on the collar.
  • Person does not have a utility belt with firearm, magazine pouch, baton, handcuff case, radio or other tools of the trade.
  • No identification, police commission card or badge.
  • Vehicle is not marked and does not have red and blue flashing lights.
  • Extreme nervousness on the part of the impersonator when speaking.
  • Does not introduce themselves or agency.
  • Asks for inappropriate information or makes inappropriate requests.

Citizens who are unsure can call 911 or the non-emergency number — 923-2350 — for verification and to request a supervisor, according to the press release.