No Trick or Treat: Criminal Impersonation Serious Crime

October 26, 2005 – Posted at 4:42 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- It happens everyday. You are driving along, look back and see blue lights. But how do you know for sure it's a police officer? It's called criminal impersonation and it's a crime.

“I don't feel like you should pose as one if you are not one. Because it's actually an authority figure and it shouldn't be taken advantage of,” said Shellie Pippinger of the Arkansas Police Supply Store in Jonesboro.
Badges, batons and blue lights are for sale at the Arkansas Police Supply Store, but be ready to flash some identification if you want to buy.
“Anything that is pretty much labeled as police, security, EMS, fire, you must have id, picture id as far as issued from the department,” said Pippinger.
JPD says undercover officers don't usually give traffic tickets. But if you see the blue light and suspect something isn't right, wait to pull over in a well lit area.
“If they had a cellular phone, they could call the police department and ask if "am I being stopped by a police officer?" and in most cases the dispatcher will know,” said Sgt. Stephen McDaniel of the Jonesboro Police Department.
Although rare, there have been reports of police impersonators in Region 8.
“If they suspect anyone of impersonating a police officer or they have any information that someone might be doing this, please call us and let us know about this information so we can take some kind of action before something bad does happen,” said Sgt. McDaniel.
Impersonating an officer is considered a Class D felony and those caught could face prison time.