Public warned of possible impostor cop in Region 8 - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Public warned of possible impostor cop in Region 8

BAXTER COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – The Baxter County Sheriff's Office and Mountain Home Police Department have sent out an alert informing the public to be aware of a possible impostor cop.

According to Baxter County Sheriff John F. Montgomery, a woman complained that a man displaying a flashing blue light on the dash of his vehicle pulled her over in Mountain Home Sunday evening around 6:15. 

Police describe the man as probably in his 30's with a slim, muscular build; short, light colored hair; and some facial hair. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt, and he was driving a black sports car with "fancy wheels", but the make and model are unknown, according to investigators. 

Officers said the woman also told them he was carrying a gun, but she did not see a badge or identification. She said he did not identify himself, but did ask for her license and other documents before threatening her with traffic citations and letting her go. 

The woman said she first noticed the sports car passing several vehicles to get behind her, explained police. The police report indicates that when she arrived to Mountain Home, she turned down some side streets in the Northern Hills area; while on those streets, the woman said the man following her activated his flashing lights, and she pulled over somewhere on Arkansas Avenue.

The sheriff's department said it is unusual that a law enforcement officer would attempt to stop a vehicle by using just a single dash light mounted on an unmarked, unfamiliar vehicle.  The department also said all Sheriff's patrol vehicles and Mountain Home Police patrol vehicles are fully marked with multiple emergency lights and siren. 

While investigators and some administrative personnel do drive unmarked vehicles, most of these are also equipped with multiple emergency lighting systems and a siren should those officers need to stop a vehicle in the performance of their duties. 

An off duty officer would also have a department issued badge and ID card that he or she would immediately display to any person pulled over.  Department policies also require all officers who make vehicle stops to radio them in to the communications dispatchers so they can accurately log and record all information.

Most department policies also prohibit off duty officers in personal unmarked vehicles from attempting to make vehicle stops in other than very urgent situations and certainly not for minor traffic offenses.

The Sheriff's Office and Mountain Home Police offered the following advice to anyone when a person in an unmarked vehicle with a solitary flashing or rotating dash light is trying to pull them over:

 

  1. If you have any uncertainty about the legitimacy of the person operating a vehicle with a flashing or rotating dash light trying to get you to pull over, you may turn on your emergency flashers and continue driving at normal speed until you reach a place of relative safety, such as a business that is open with other persons around.  If after dark, seek a well-lighted location in view of other passing motorists, or drive to your local law enforcement office or facility.

  2. Be alert for the sound of a "siren", which may help confirm the legitimacy of the person displaying the flashing or rotating light.  Legitimate law enforcement personnel will have a siren mounted in unmarked government vehicles.  Illegitimate imposters may not have a siren.  This is only an indicator of potential legitimacy, and the presence of a siren is not a guarantee that a legitimate officer is behind you.  This is only a clue that you can look and listen for.

  3. Use a cell phone to call the Sheriff's Office or Police Department.  Dispatchers should be able to confirm whether or not a legitimate law enforcement officer is attempting to pull you over.  If this cannot be confirmed, do not stop for the unmarked vehicle but continue driving at normal speed to a safe location.  The dispatchers will send assistance to you.

 

"Our officers will be understanding and show patience with citizens who are reluctant to stop for unmarked, unfamilar law enforcement vehicles because they understand the potential for foul play by an imposter," said Sheriff Montgomery. 

If you have any information about a potential suspect or additional vehicle description, please contact the Sheriff's Office or the Mountain Home Police Department as soon as possible. 

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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