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Old December 28, 2006, 12:11 AM   #1
Doug.38PR
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Article: Who's Pulling You over: Is it a Cop...or a Creep with a Fake Badge

Interesting article from AOL. One question I have is the Third option. If you tell HIM to call another officer and he IS in fact a creep. All he is going to do is call a creep friend of his also dressed as a policeman to come convince you.

Quote:
Updated:2006-12-27 15:33:13
Who Pulled You Over?
Is It a Cop -- or a Creep With a Fake Badge?
By ERIC PETERS




That navy blue sedan behind you with the flashing blue light on the dash is probably a cop -- but it could be a creep using police paraphernalia to get you to pull over.

How to tell the difference? And what should you do if you're not sure?

In the United States, almost all traffic enforcement work is done by police driving one of the following vehicles:

- Ford Crown Victoria sedan
- Chevy Impala sedan (some departments also use the smaller Malibu and the Lumina sedans as well, though the majority in service today are Impalas)
- Chevy Tahoe SUV
- Dodge Charger

The problem is that these vehicles are also sold to civilians -- and it's pretty easy to dress one up so that it looks very much like an undercover police car. In fact, there are police supply stores that will sell everything a dirtbag needs to make himself look like the real deal -- right down to the uniform and fake ID.

Some departments also use unconventional cars for pursuit work. For example, the Ford Mustang LX 5.0 was very popular in the 1980s for speed limit enforcement; today, some departments use unmarked Camaro Z28s -- and even Corvettes -- for the same purpose.

This is pretty scary, since we're all taught to obey the commands of law enforcement officers -- and when a police-looking car is trying to get us to pull over, every instinct tells us to comply.

Still, it's important to use your head.


First, have you done something to deserve being pulled over? If you've been driving within 5-mph of the posted speed limit and haven't broken any traffic laws that you're aware of, your guard should be up if all of a sudden there's an unmarked car on your tail with its lights flashing -- especially if it's out in the middle of nowhere and late at night. While radar traps are a reality, most of the time, we get pulled over for a reason -- and we know perfectly well what it is. So if you honestly haven't done anything wrong that you're aware of -- and the "officer" just appeared out of nowhere -- you're right to be suspicious -- particularly if you are female and traveling alone.

Second, If the vehicle attempting to pull you over is not a clearly marked police cruiser -- or a car or truck that isn't routinely used for police work (especially if it's an older/broken down-looking vehicle) and your "creep radar" is telling you something's just not right -- you should slow down (to indicate you are not trying to get away, in case it is a real police officer), signal your intent to pull over -- but only do so when you can find a well-lit, public place with other people around, such as a shopping mall parking lot. Or, you can pull over immediately -- but keep your doors locked and only crack the window enough to pass your driver's license and registration through.

Third, get a good look at the "officer" and his credentials. If the "officer" is not in uniform, refuses to show you his badge -- or just flashes it briefly, so you can't get a good look -- keep that window rolled up and those doors locked tightly. Ask once more to see his credentials. If he won't let you, tell the "officer" that you'd like for him to call another officer to the scene. This is your right -- and while it may aggravate the officer if he is in fact the real deal, it could save your life if he's not. A real officer will understand your concern and have no problem with calling a fellow officer (or supervisor) to the scene. There have been several case of women being abducted and raped by thugs impersonating police -- and most departments are very sensitive to people's legitimate concerns on this score.


Fourth, if the "officer" starts acting oddly when you ask to see his ID -- threatening you, behaving in a non-professional manner, pounding on your door, etc. -- seriously consider putting the car in gear and getting out of there. Tell the "officer" you are uncomfortable and that you will gladly follow him (or be escorted to) to the nearest police station. If you have a cell phone, immediately dial 911 -- and tell the operator that you have been pulled over by someone who claims to be a police officer but that you think he might not be a real cop. Tell the operator exactly where you are -- and stay on the line. If it's a real officer, you'll know very soon. If it's not, the guy will almost certainly take off at this point. (Caution: Only take this step in a situation that clearly doesn't feel right as you risk an "attempt to elude" charge if it is, indeed, a real police officer. But again, better safe than sorry given the stakes.)

These precautions -- and some common sense -- should keep you from getting anything worse than another traffic ticket.


2006-11-07 09:39:51
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Old December 28, 2006, 01:04 AM   #2
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If you are indeed forced to pull away from the stop, don't speed away or break any other laws. Go the speed limit, or under, and perhaps even turn your emergency flashers on. If it is a real officer, make it obvious you are not a criminal trying to evade arrest. Don't turn it into a high speed chase.
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Old December 28, 2006, 01:45 AM   #3
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Another good idea is to call 911 or another number where law enforcement can be reach. They will know or be able to find out very quickly if he is an officer or a creep. The other advantage is if he isn't an officer, you have already called for help and the real police will probably know before you do and will be heading in your direction.
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Old December 28, 2006, 02:08 AM   #4
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Interesting article.

Here's something else to consider. The "red light rapists" as they are sometimes known, most often use dash mounted emergency lights or the small magnetic mount lights that can be quickly dismounted from the roof. They seldom have roof-racks full of lights or loud sirens.

Having had the experience of an unusually marked vehicle try to pull me over, here's a simple criteria you can use;
1. Roof-mounted lighting -- lack of it is clue #1
2. Slow down and maybe signal but don't stop until you hear a loud siren. Most fakes can't afford the expense of a real siren unit and don't want to use it to attract attention. A weak or odd-sounding siren is suspect. Lack of a siren is clue #2 (and probably the best one).
3. Make a turn in a well lighted area at night and watch your mirrors. Can you see any obvious markings on the unit? Most traffic units are clearly marked with the agency logo on the door and/or contrasting colors.
4. Wait for back-up. If you don't stop and drive slowly, he'll radio it in. Chances are that after a few minutes another unit will arrive. If you know the area reasonably well, go around the same block repeatedly until a second unit arrives.

If the unit behind you fails #1 and #2, use a cell phone to dial 911 and get help. Expect real cops to approach you with great caution, keep your hands visible and at your first opportunity let them know why you were apprehensive. If you can articulate why, they will understand. If they add some kind of infraction to the ticket, you can usually get a judge to dismiss it if you can show logical arguments for the actions (i.e. no siren).

As to the vehicles police use, the article included;
Quote:
- Ford Crown Victoria sedan
- Chevy Impala sedan (some departments also use the smaller Malibu and the Lumina sedans as well, though the majority in service today are Impalas)
- Chevy Tahoe SUV
- Dodge Charger
California Highway Patrol (CHP) uses all-white Camaro Z-28's with low-profile, clear-lens L.E.D. lightbars for some traffic enforcement. These are clearly marked on the doors as CHP units however. They also use Dodge Ram pickup trucks for commercial truck enforcement but these units can and do stop passenger cars at times.

One California city experimented with Volvo police vehicles for a time. They had too many issues with the vehicles, plus more than a few people not stopping because they didn't think it was a real PD vehicle.

Quote:
All he is going to do is call a creep friend of his also dressed as a policeman to come convince you.
Red-light rapists usually work alone. If they team up, it would be very unusual for them to have identical vehicles and equipment on them. It's more likely two of them would team up in identical uniforms in the same vehicle.
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Old December 28, 2006, 04:35 PM   #5
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I was once pulled over by a beat-up jeep with a rinky-dink rotating red light and no siren. It did not look like a cop. I slowed down to 5 mph and crept to a place on the highway 100 yards or so down the road that was well-lit...

It turned out to be a rural LA K9 officer and he was not amused. I got to experience a "felony stop" where I was tackled and handcuffed while he yelled: "Why were you runnin' from me?! Why'd yew run?!". My friends in the car got the same treatment. Then he spent about an hour tearing my car apart looking for whatever cops look for while I layed around handcuffed on the side of the road in the rain.

They impounded my car and arrested me for "evasion" or some such nonsense. The charge was thrown out once I was able to explain in court that he was not driving a police car so I just slowed way down until we came to a well-lit area. The cop did not show up for the court date to explain his actions.

If you are pulled over, pull the hell over to the side of the road no matter if it looks like a cop car or a golf-cart with christmas-lights on it. You will have a bad night if you don't.
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Old December 28, 2006, 04:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
If you are pulled over, pull the hell over to the side of the road no matter if it looks like a cop car or a golf-cart with christmas-lights on it. You will have a bad night if you don't.
I just have to say this. IGNORE THE ABOVE COMMENT!!! You'll have a worse night if you end up with a slit throat because of a imposter. Wait until you can find a public area if you feel your gut telling you to.

Quote:
I got to experience a "felony stop" where I was tackled and handcuffed while he yelled
Did you get out of your car & try to run after you pulled over? That's the only way I can think of that you could be tackled by a cop. I mean how do you tackle somebody in a car?

Another way to tell if it's a real officer is that real cops usually wear a black glossy belt with a buckle that has 2 prongs instead of the usual 1 prong. That may be hard to observe for most people but I make some of those belts so I can tell the difference.

Apart from that, look at the lights the "police" have. In NC, you have to be a police official to have the blinking blue LED lights. I think it's also a federal law but I'm not sure.
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Old December 28, 2006, 04:55 PM   #7
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Looks like "damned if you do, damned if you don't". I don't see an easy solution.

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Old December 28, 2006, 05:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
I think it's also a federal law but I'm not sure.
V4, since when did a criminal care about a law?

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Old December 28, 2006, 05:01 PM   #9
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women are told by police instructors to pull over but stay in the car. only open the window enough to slide out your license.
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Old December 28, 2006, 05:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
V4, since when did a criminal care about a law?
Good point.
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Old December 28, 2006, 05:27 PM   #11
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What the common citizen, or even felon can buy out there to impersonate an officer can be had cheaply, and easily. Maby not real cheal or real easy but if can be done. I am heavily into the 5.0 Mustang thing, the former Highway Patrol units are very popular, most keep the old pait scheme (the GSP scheme looks real good) and even they have gone to add the wig-wags and other things to make them look like the cars they used to be. One of the original cars from the Andy Griffith show is near me. But anyone knows they are not used as patroll cars anymore.

I knew a guy who owned a 2003 Crown Vic Police Interceptor Package, and had all the lights, sirens, radios. He was a PI for a living, but not for LE, but for say busting your spouse cheating or for insurance fraud cases. He even had a badge which was basically certification, kind of like what a bounty hunter would have. There is no need for that.

One thing is good is that when an impersonation incedent does happen, LEO jumps on it hard core. Unless a criminal pulls it only once on a Brinks truck after all the cash pickups, it won't be profitalbe.

I think the artical above is a good guide. However if the police make a stink about it, your paying the Legal Fees. If you don't have a lawyer, your going to loose most likley. It might not be official, but in traffic court, you have the burden to prove yourself innocent, that is the court's agenda. A lawyer is needed to keep the courts straight. I remember one time I was ticketed for running a stop sign, which I didn't so I fought it. The judge said "Do you have any proof you did not run the sign". I said "I said I didn't, and it's the job of the prosecution and officer to prove I did." The judge informed me that isn't how it worked, and that I was "one of those" when I replied "innocent until proven guilty" then laughed and called me a smart ass, and said because of that, I am guilty. Slapped me with a $350 fine. When I tried to complain, I got the runaround by the other courts.
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Old December 28, 2006, 06:04 PM   #12
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Or the judge says "NOT GUILTY" and slams you with $100 court costs which they need no justification for
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Old December 28, 2006, 06:18 PM   #13
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He ordered me out of the car while screaming: "don't look at me!"
While I had my back turned as he had instructed he ran over and tackled the hell out of me. That's how you get tackled during a traffic stop. No running required.

I'm so glad I told this story... so a person who has named themselves after the most retarded paranoid-fantasy film ever made can accuse me of being a liar... I love the internet.
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Old December 28, 2006, 06:20 PM   #14
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that cop sounds like an ***hole // I guess anyone can be
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Old December 28, 2006, 07:32 PM   #15
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Another good point is to try and get a look at the license plates. Usually cop cars have government plates on them.
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Old December 28, 2006, 10:39 PM   #16
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In Indiana, police officers who can initiate a traffic stop must be in a clearly marked police vehicle with agency badging on sides of vehicle. They can be in plain clothes only if they are in this clearly marked vehicle. Officers who initiate traffic stops when driving unmarked vehicles must be in full uniform. Lots of departments even go so far as to require them to wear their dress headwear. ie mountme hats...
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Old December 29, 2006, 02:01 AM   #17
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Your best bet is to roll down your window a little bit and slide out your ID and registration/insurance (depends on the state) and if you really are uncomfortable ask the officer to radio in for another unit. Usually if a male officer makes the stop on a woman they can call in a female officer. From working with the police in my town (and I know this will vary from town to town) we only have one officer per car, but as soon as any one officer on patrol makes a stop, another unit is dispatched to back them up, no matter what.
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Old December 29, 2006, 04:51 AM   #18
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You turned your car off while you wait for the officer or don’t have it in gear your uncomfortable you ask for another officer to come to prove his authenticity he pulls his baton smashes your window and drags you out then what? I mean if he's not a real cop and thinks dam she’s pretty I want her and he has every intent on raping the female driving the car she’s stuffed isn’t she?

If you don't believe its a cop I would just ignore them and drive normal speed to the closest police station until I saw more police cars or a road block.

or pull over if he pulls over drive off once has gotten out of his car then proceed to the police station I mean if you have any doubt don't take the risk
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Old December 29, 2006, 11:53 AM   #19
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San Antonio had an incident where a women was suspicious of an unmarked car, turned on her flashers and drove to a convenience store. The officer was very rude to her - it made the tube and the officer was disciplined and the chief apologized, IIRC.
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Old December 29, 2006, 01:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
I'm so glad I told this story... so a person who has named themselves after the most retarded paranoid-fantasy film ever made can accuse me of being a liar... I love the internet.
1. I didn't say you were a liar. I said I couldn't picture being tackled while in a car. Though when I picture tackleing, my mental picture is Troy Aikmin smashing another player to the ground.

2. I chose my name after the book which was much more realistic & better than the movie. The movie is still good though.
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Old December 29, 2006, 01:37 PM   #21
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"Apart from that, look at the lights the "police" have. In NC, you have to be a police official to have the blinking blue LED lights. I think it's also a federal law but I'm not sure."

Not federal. You can buy the blue lights here, you're just not allowed to impersonate a law enforcement officer. Either way, I doubt someone intent on rape or murder really cares what the law says.

Lots of unmarked cars around. The other day I saw someone pulled over by a blue chevy blazer.
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Old December 29, 2006, 02:43 PM   #22
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oldbill, I don't think V intended to insult you. Things don't always "type out right", if you know what I mean. It's just my opinion, but I enjoyed the movie. I think it pretty well showed what's happening now, as your (and my, BTW) experience shows.

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Old December 29, 2006, 03:53 PM   #23
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I just heard a story on the news this morning where a woman, impersonating a police officer, pulled a car over. She told the driver they could handle it the "hard way" or the "easy way". She then collected $50 from the driver and went on her way.
True story!

I've seen this happen in movies, but it never ends in the exchange of cash.
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Old December 29, 2006, 10:14 PM   #24
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Dino,

You've never lived in NYC or some of the eastern big cities, have you? It used to be well known in parts of NY, NJ, PA and some other states that if you folded a $10 up behind your license you'd only get a warning. The amount varied but that's the way business was done during the 50's and 60's in some places.

But graft is somewhat off the topic.

In a large number of places it is fairly easy for someone to get away with impersonating an officer due to rural conditions or infrequently patrolled areas. The key thing is to keep one's calm, evaluate the situation and drive slowly towards a busy public place or a local PD/FD station. Driving slow keeps the danger level down for you & the PD which will turn out better for you in the long run.
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Old December 29, 2006, 10:57 PM   #25
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One California city experimented with Volvo police vehicles for a time. They had too many issues with the vehicles
There's a big surprise.
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