Police investigate reported impersonation of law enforcement officer

Published 2:55 pm Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Suffolk Police are investigating a reported impersonation of a law enforcement officer.

Investigation has revealed an adult male was traveling in the 1500 block of Freeman Mill Road about 8:53 a.m. on Tuesday, according to a city press release, when he was allegedly stopped and confronted by a white male who claimed he was a police officer.

The subject was described in his 50s or 60s, about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, with brown and gray hair and a gray mustache. He was driving a white, late model Dodge Charger, with no markings but with a police-style spotlight at the driver’s side door, the press release stated.

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The two had a verbal confrontation, and the subject then left the premises in his own vehicle.

“Police want to make certain that citizens are aware of this incident so that they can take the proper precautions if confronted with a similar situation,” the press release stated.

“There’s a law in every state against impersonating a police officer, with good reason,” the press release stated. “Those who impersonate police officers erode the public’s trust in law enforcement and may endanger unsuspecting people. It is an inexcusable act and one that if convicted is punishable by prison time, a fine, or both.”

Suffolk Police offered these tips people can remember to protect themselves:

  • 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 in a location where there are a lot of people present (shopping center, fire station, restaurant parking lot, etc.).
  • Turn on your emergency flashers, but don’t turn off your car.
  • Do not get out of the vehicle to meet the officer, and 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 plainclothes, 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. Call 9-1-1 to advise of your location and to confirm their identity. You may also request a marked patrol unit respond.
  • If in a remote or dark area, call 9-1-1 to advise them of the incident and your location, provide a description of your vehicle and the suspect vehicle, and travel at a low, safe speed with your emergency flashers on until you reach an area where you feel safe or as advised by emergency dispatchers.
  • 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.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Tipsters can also submit tips by going to www.p3tips.com or by visiting the Suffolk Police Department website at www.suffolkva.us/spd and looking for the Suffolk Crime Line link. Tipsters never have to give their names or appear in court and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.