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Old December 1, 2005, 10:47 PM   #1
Sir William
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What would you do? "Police" robbers.

OK. You are riding along in your vehicle. A semi passes by you. A unmarked sedan comes behind the semi with headlights flashing and a red/blue dashlight flashing. The semi pulls over. You are rubbernecking the traffic stop. The "LEOs" strike the trucker, kick him/her in the mouth and ribs and take their wallet/purse. What is your response? We have had three such robberies/assaults recently. Two victims were female and one male, all alone. Two fake LEOs with unmarked sedans and one unmarked Tahoe SUV. I wonder if people should call 911 and find out if a genuine prowl car is behind them? The robberies have been in broad daylight and close to police checkpoints/stations.
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Old December 1, 2005, 10:59 PM   #2
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I would stop, call 911 and offer any assistance I could to the victim while getting a description and number on the car if possible.
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Old December 1, 2005, 11:03 PM   #3
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I've made the decision that I will never pull over for an unmarked car on its own.

If one comes behind me to signal "pull over" i will immediately put my hazard lights on and drive 5mph below the speed limit wherever I am, to signal to the "officer" that I see him and acknowledge his presence.

I will then call 911 on my cell phone and verify the car's front plate with dispatch, and request a normal black and white to be present before I pull over.

I do everything legally possible to make using unmarked vehicles inconvenient for police. I have seen too many abuses of unmarked cars to be comfortable in acknowledging any authority they may have over me.

I've seen 2 accidents caused by unmarked cars and gotten one officer fired because of wreckless driving while using an unmarked.

But regardless of dispatch sending a second, real car due to my request, or the officer gets angy and brings in backup, I will never pull over for a single unmarked.

I find them unethical and a breach of public safety.
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Old December 1, 2005, 11:29 PM   #4
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While I fully respect LEO's and what they do, believe unmarked cars should be used for "Sting" type operations only. If public saftey was their main concern then put more marked cruiser on the street. Ever notice how marked cruisers tend to slow down traffic and cause a larger "check" in behavior? Yes, unmarked cars increase the likely hood of being caught for minor offenses but which is better.... slowing down twenty cars or catching one and getting the tax dollars? More police presence in the neighborhoods will reduce crime. Yes, it takes stealth and cunning to bust drug operations and catch murder suspects, rapist etc. But for traffic stops and the like; I think unnecessary.

When I was 17 (you know, the know it all years) I had a cherokee pull up behind me with a blue strobe on the visor. I was sorta being a smarta$$, I'll admit to that, but I did call 911 to "verify" this jeep. I asked for a marked cruiser to come on seen and told the dispatcher where I was. I was doing this while obeying the speed limit and staying in the right lane. I got to a red light, and stopped. The jeep pulled behind me, and the driver's door opened. I was still on the phone with the dispatcher just as a marked cruiser pulled behind the jeep. The guy in the jeep slammed the door and took off. The dispatcher told me to stay where I was, and the cruiser took off after the jeep. Apparently they had been looking for this guy. After that, I will only pull over for a marked cruiser, but now for saftey reasons and not just because I dont' think it is fair practice.
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Old December 1, 2005, 11:32 PM   #5
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Unmarked stops are not allowed in CA for good reason. I would turn around and get out my trunk gun (m14) and body armor. People posing as cops to rob people make being a cop more dangerous than it has to be, so I would get involved here. On the other hand for a simple carjacking or robbery(no fake cops) I would just call 911 or local PD. This is one situation where my offduty blinders would have to come off.
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Old December 1, 2005, 11:39 PM   #6
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never stop for a '"cruiser" that you think wrong! Dial 911,and ask the dispatccer what to do.
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Old December 2, 2005, 12:22 AM   #7
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Anyone else remember Carl Chessman, the Red Light Bandit from the 50's?
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Old December 2, 2005, 06:31 AM   #8
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Hey Guys --- I get being prudent while respectfull to assure the authenticity of any cruiser trying to pull you over, however I got ask, what the heck is wrong with low profile cars??? Other than some panties in a wad because you all been nailed by them???

Abuse of marked cars? Heck I see some abuse of marked units sometimes --- doesent seem like that is a big factor to me and in my mind lower profile units are to some degree safer because having driven a lot of marked (fire not LE but same difffernace) SUV's non-emergeny for a lot of miles, having to slam on your brakes, watch drives dive out of you way or do other unperdictable and offten dangeous things puts me and the general public at a greater risk than the mind your manners and don't speed deturrance factor of having a marked unit cruise through --- for this reason you are seeing with fair frequency some fire departments in very population dense regions go to the lower profile vehicles --- offten marked but with behind the grill and window lights rather than light bars and external lights

A few points:

1. First these are really unmarked or low profile units we are talking about, not undercover cars where some attempt at stealth would be made i.e. an impounded 300 Z with a couple of vice cops in it --- anyone looking at a crown vic or caprice in any one of 4 or 5 colors with a radio attenta or two who can't figure it's a gov. vehicle of some sort really deserves the ticket that they get.

2. Universal use of marked units for trafffic stops would solve little as anyone with balls big enough to be out playing cop could pretty easily conjure up a marked unit --- pretty much any decal these days can be put on a magnet and put on / taken off at will --- low profile units like SWAT, K9, and bomb squad often have these

3. Point #2 is even more so now that many agencies are going to LED light bars that are offten clear externally --- anyone who desired to do so could drive around with a bar on their veicle and no one wold know the color untill it flips on, god knows I have had a few behind me that I woundered if they were cops, fire chief, fedral agents, or lock smiths.
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Old December 2, 2005, 07:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
what the heck is wrong with low profile cars???
Nothing, except they way they are used. I don't think it would be to much to expect unmarked cars to work in conjunction with marked cars carrying uniformed officers who would make the stop. The safety of the policemen and security of the public should be the main concern here, not budget.

As soon as a criminal begins his unmarked car routine the local police need to ditch the unmarked cars, every one of them, and publicize that they have done so. At the very least publicize on every TV station and every radio station again and again that unmarked cars will NOT be making stops. Doing any less is providing cover for the criminal, regardless of the reason.

That being said, at night you don't know if the car behind you is marked or not, or if the backlit figure getting out of it is in uniform or not.
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Old December 2, 2005, 08:21 AM   #10
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I wouldnt stop for an unmarked car without first dialing 911 and talking to a dispatcher to make sure it is a real cop first. If the cop doesnt understand that and gives me grief for refusing to pull over imediately, no problemo' Im sure the judge will understand when it gets to court. There was a problem like that down here late last year (New Orleans area). And then after Katrina hit, there was a bunch of it going on. People cruising around pretending to be with rescue , and volunteer firefighters - all the while stealing . There was even a a group of thieves pretending to be an animal rescue agency ! We are always cautious now, the world has just gotten very dishonest. Im sure police more than anyone understand that.
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Old December 2, 2005, 09:50 AM   #11
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I see what I call cloaked (unmarked) cars pull people over all the time when I go over to North Louisiana on I-20 I was working in Carthage Texas a few years ago I would occasionally see a cloaked car on the loop speeding around from spot to spot stationing himself to pull people over. I was told at the local convenient store on the loop around the hotels that he was a NARC. Unmarked cars. That's scary. We've had similar discussions about phony cops on this board before. Seems to me, after all the discussion, the best idea is to NOT pull over. Don't lead them on a high speed chase unless they get dangerously agressive, but go at a safe speed and IMMEDIATELY whip out the cell phone to call 911 and confirm that this is a real policeman, deputy or state trooper. Keep your handgun in a reachable position. Don't let him pull you over in a concealed area. Surely the 911 operator will have the dispatcher call him and let him know why I am holding him off. Once it has been confirmed to be a genuine policeman, pull over and keep your hands where he can see them (I would put mine either on the wheel or on sticking out the door holding my license, (CHL if state requires), and insurance slip. Don't hold anything against him, just explain your concerns as you did 911...in fact keep 911 on the phone until the policeman approaches the window (even better if you have a speaker phone plugged in) so he can hear and even talk to the 911 operator if need be. That way everybody, you, 911 and the officer are clear on what is going on and that neither you or the officer are a threat. No hard feelings (or at least their shouldn't be) might even encourage the state, county or parish to rethink their use of cloaked cars.

Unmarked cars, except for plain cloths detectives on undercover operations, I think are a bad idea and even a little sneaky to be used for patroling and giving out tickets. The whole idea beind the car being marked it seems to me is that it says "there is a policeman I need to follow his lead, watch my step or I NEED TO GO THERE FOR HELP."
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Old December 2, 2005, 11:27 AM   #12
BreacherUp!
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If an unmarked car pulls you over, there should be a UNIFORMED officer getting out of the vehicle.
However, if you are being pulled over by a group of unmarked cars with plain clothes officers, badges and colors must be properly displayed.
It's a judgement call. Just understand that the driving laws in your state tell you to yield to whatever color configuration the LEos use in that state (In Ca, it is a solid forward facing red light, and usually wig-wags/strobes in the headlights).
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Old December 2, 2005, 12:36 PM   #13
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Scary what is going on out there.

These are very good tips.

Back to the scenario at hand: I would call 911 - report incident, and if I was alone (no SO or family with me), and then it depends.

Is it daylight? Do I see a partner for the BG? Is the BG armed?

All of those would be a factor in whether or not I would physically intervene in the situation. If I saw the stranger is in immediate danger, and doing a quick calculation - with the above factors, puts the odds in my favor of making it out of there unscathed, I would probably help.
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Old December 2, 2005, 01:15 PM   #14
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+1 for Breacherup. The cop should be in uniform, not in a baseball cap and t-shirt the just says "police". 99% of the time official police lights contain BOTH RED and BLUE lights. if it is just one color, something is up. Also I would say 80% of the time cops and troopers work alone. There is a chance he has a partner or he could be training a rookie, but if 3 or 4 guys jump out, something is definately up. Usually the only reason an unmarked car would pull you over is if your speeding (speeding trap). In PA all police must respond with a marked crusier if requested, usually the unmarked car would just pull the speeder over and just sit there until a marked cruiser shows up. If an unmarked cop pulls you over, and approaches your car. I would make sure I was in an well lit area and get on the cell phone and dial 911 and request a marked cruiser, keeping the doors locked, engine running, windows up, but with a tiny,tiny crack open so you can talk to the guy. If I had no cell phone, tell the guy that you need him to call in a marker cruiser. If he says that he can't get a marked cruiser, something might be up, tell him you want to drive to the nearest police station. He should be ok with it, if not something is up. Take off and drive to the nearest public place with a phone and call 911. The only thing a real cop in unmarked car might ask you for is to turn off your engine and for your license and Registration, (you can slip that thru the crack in your window if the guy is a real cop, he should not be offended by it). A cop in an unmarked car would not ask you to get out of the car or roll down the window until the marked cruiser shows up unless you did something extreme (like you got a dead guy on the hood of your car, or a crack pipe in your mouth). If he trys to open a door or get in, take off.
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Old December 2, 2005, 02:22 PM   #15
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good call BreacherUP!

I am in training for LEO.
Use of lights to pull people over is required in certain colors and sequence.
An officer must be uniformed to make the stop.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out if the lightbar is real or not.
Use common sense people.

I am not so sure the majority of us will do too well with NOT STOPPING.
If it looks suspicious it probably is - but don't lose your head because of this thread.
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Old December 2, 2005, 02:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
It doesn't take a genius to figure out if the lightbar is real or not....
Actually Batman, sir, I take extreme exception to that. I do not drive around with police light bars flashing behind my vehicle. In fact, the last time I saw State Trooper lights in my rear view was over 25 years ago. They used to be red back then, I have no idea what they are now. I think they were blue for a while. The city police lit me up a year or so ago, but I can't recall what it looked like other than blue. The Parish Sheriff has never pulled me over, so I don't know if his are red or blue or what.

Quote:
I am in training for LEO.
Use of lights to pull people over is required in certain colors and sequence.
An officer must be uniformed to make the stop.
You're in training to be a LEO huh? Not all departments have the same equipment and regulations across the country. American citizens are free to travel outside of the police jurisdiction they live in. This is America. If you have a problem with me confirming that you are indeed legitimate before I place myself and my family at risk because you have a twinkly light on your car you are nuts. Not all people will be familiar with the lights in your jurisdiction, or they just might be law abiding citizens who have never had a police car light them up.
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Old December 2, 2005, 02:48 PM   #17
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It happened back in 70s in L. A.

Using vehicles that looked like police cars and using red lights to pull them over.
Not a good thing, hopefully it never happens to you. Meanwhile I am sure they are desperately trying to catch these people. They will, you can bet on it. Televising it and making person's aware is the best way to spread the word.

I am sure it is very much spread through out the system of truck stops and CB's.

High Plains Drifter, good one. I like that, in this new day and age of the cell phone, or a CB to other truckers.

Harley

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Old December 2, 2005, 03:23 PM   #18
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Judging by one gal's experience in Florida, failing to pull over for an unmarked car might result in some rough handling by a furious officer.
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Old December 2, 2005, 03:34 PM   #19
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In Fla. the State Troopers routinely use unmarked cars. However they are always driven by a uniformed Trooper. As a matter of fact, a concerned citizen purchased several new cars and donated them to the State Troopers specifically to catch aggressive drivers.
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Old December 2, 2005, 06:42 PM   #20
Doug.38PR
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Quote:
99% of the time official police lights contain BOTH RED and BLUE lights. if it is just one color, something is up.
Well that's not necessarily true. Louisiana State Police have ONLY blue lights on their cruisers.

Louisiana Sheriff departments (Quachita and Morehouse Parish anyway) have red only on their cruisers.
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Old December 2, 2005, 07:01 PM   #21
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Don't see any red lights on my patrol vehicle.
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Old December 2, 2005, 09:35 PM   #22
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Quote:
As soon as a criminal begins his unmarked car routine the local police need to ditch the unmarked cars, every one of them, and publicize that they have done so. At the very least publicize on every TV station and every radio station again and again that unmarked cars will NOT be making stops. Doing any less is providing cover for the criminal, regardless of the reason.
yeah, like that is cost effective. The reason why there are unmarked cars is because people break the law and cop cars can be spotted a mile away.
On top of that, it is difficult enough just to get enough police hired in a certain area let a lone buy all new cars to replace ones that are unmarked. Funding for police officers is worse than education funding.

It is the unmarked car that usually catches people in the act. It is also what the detectives, FBI, DEA, BATF, and every other agency uses.

Quote:
Actually Batman, sir, I take extreme exception to that. I do not drive around with police light bars flashing behind my vehicle. In fact, the last time I saw State Trooper lights in my rear view was over 25 years ago. They used to be red back then, I have no idea what they are now. I think they were blue for a while. The city police lit me up a year or so ago, but I can't recall what it looked like other than blue. The Parish Sheriff has never pulled me over, so I don't know if his are red or blue or what.
If you are that animate about it, instead of putting a ... after my quote, and leaving out the line of "Use common sense" - how about looking up the laws (yes there are laws in every state) as to what colors the emergency vehicles lights can be.

It is most likely in the latest manual for your state's drivers license test.

Google your city's police department, I am sure you will get a good look at their vehicles.

Specifically in MN they can be multiple colors, but certain vehicles can be a certain color.
Being ignorant to the law is no excuse.

You are telling me you have not seen lights from a squad in your area in 25 years (other than being pulled over by State a year ago)?
Do you ever go outside?

Quote:
If you have a problem with me confirming that you are indeed legitimate before I place myself and my family at risk because you have a twinkly light on your car you are nuts.
Not at all, but be ready for either incarceration for failure to stop for an emergency vehicle or more squads responding to a car not pulling over.
Although you guys are saying you can explain your way out of it, you have just put yourself in a very bad situation.

Do as you would like - but I would think as conscious of our surroundings as we have to be to carry as private citizens, we all should be a little better at spotting cop cars than what this thread is leaning to!!!!
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Old December 2, 2005, 09:53 PM   #23
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OK Mr. Batman, you win.
I will not waste my time researching what your little twinklies look like. If I do not stop until I identify you, feel free to beat me to the ground. I will see you at a later date in court.

Quote:
You are telling me you have not seen lights from a squad in your area in 25 years (other than being pulled over by State a year ago)?
Do you ever go outside?
Yes, it has been over 25 years since I have seen State Trooper lights behind me and I travel over 150 miles a DAY on business. You need to get out a bit more yourself and realize that you and your patrol car are not the center of everyone's world.

Quote:
It is most likely in the latest manual for your state's drivers license test.
The last time I took a written drivers test was 28 years ago.

If this is your attitude towards law abiding citizens, I sincerely hope you find alternative employment.
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Old December 2, 2005, 10:21 PM   #24
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this is unfortunately all too common

IIRC, the last time this came up (and I think it was in Houston about a year ago, but somebody from here please correct me if I'm wrong) the police specifically said that you have the right to immediately ask for a supervisor if you feel something is amiss. The real police would rather you do that than have to come on a call where you've been raped, robbed and murdered because you didn't.

If you do not RUN from the policeman, but just continue to drive to, say, the next corner store and turn in THERE and park, you're not resisting arrest or whatever, and you ARE making more certain (can't say "certain" absolutely, of course) that you are going to be safe when you DO talk to the guy with the flashing lights of whatever color.

As a woman, there is no way I would stop if the car behind me were not VERY CLEARLY a police vehicle, except in a well-lit, busy place.

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Old December 3, 2005, 12:03 AM   #25
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A couple of years ago we had a guy posing as Law Enforcement and pulling over cars, usually with lone women and stealing from or molesting them. People were recommended by law enforcement to acknowlege the unmarked car but keep driving safely to the nearest law enforcement station or a well light place with people around before stopping.
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