I’ve always wanted to do some podcast episodes to discuss some of the stuff I’ve learned over 20 years as a law enforcement officer. Some of the topics will be safety related, while some will be more of a historical and trivia related to police work. Of course, if you have any questions please email me and I’ll do my best to cover it.
This episode is dealing with police impersonators. Yes, they are out there. How do you deal with getting pulled over by one:
Recognizing the Situation
Police impersonators can be a real danger, and knowing how to react is key. If you’re pulled over by someone you suspect is not a legitimate police officer, the first step is to stay calm and assess the situation. Remember, you have the right to ensure your safety.
Pull Over Safely
If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of the vehicle attempting to pull you over, don’t stop immediately. Instead, put on your hazard lights, slow down, and signal your intent to pull over. Choose a well-lit, populated area to stop, like a gas station or a busy parking lot.
Observe the Vehicle
A real police vehicle will be clearly marked, often with the department’s logo, proper lighting, and an array of emergency lights. Impersonators may use unmarked vehicles or vehicles with insufficient lighting. Take note of these details.
Contact Police Dispatch
When in doubt, call 911 or your local police dispatch to verify the situation. Explain your concerns and ask if there is a legitimate officer in your vicinity conducting a traffic stop. Dispatchers will guide you on what to do next.
Your safety should always be your top priority. If the person claiming to be an officer doesn’t display proper identification or behaves inappropriately, trust your instincts. You can request a marked patrol car and uniformed officer to arrive at the scene before proceeding.