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What do you do if a law enforcement impersonator pulls you over?

A man impersonating a law enforcement officer was pulling people over in Ohio. Here's how you can tell between an impersonator and an officer.
Siskiyou County Deputy Sheriff badge and gun
Posted at 11:59 AM, Apr 28, 2023

What do you do if a law enforcement impersonator pulls you over?

"This does happen occasionally across the nation. Somebody gets hold of equipment that belongs to a law enforcement officer and then pretends to be an officer for a variety of reasons, but a majority of them are never good," said Sheriff Kandy Fatheree with the Summit County Sheriff's Office in Akron, Ohio.

In Ohio, someone has been pulling people over, acting as an officer. The Wayne County Sheriff's Office posted a warning on Facebook.

"What's been happening is the person has been pulling people over, asking questions and so forth, and essentially trying to lure women," an officer said in the video.

So what can you do? First, know your rights.

"The officer stepping out of that vehicle should be in a full uniform," Fatheree said.

She said the city on the officer's badge should match any markings or logos on their vehicle. In some states, only marked vehicles are allowed to perform traffic stops. Anything that doesn't match should be a red flag.

Medical professional with a stethoscope

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Authorities said Theresa Pickering fraudulently treated patients, diagnosed illnesses and prescribed medication at a medical office in Georgia.


"When they stop you, they should first identify themselves and they should tell you the reason why they're stopping you," she said.

If any of this doesn't seem right, you have the right to ask for their government-issued ID.

"You have the right to call dispatch, call 911, and call their dispatch and verify that they are who they say they are," Fatheree said. "You can also ask for a supervisor."

Other safety measures you should take are to lock your car doors and only roll down the window enough to share your drivers license and registration when asked. And before you stop, consider where you're stopping.

"Put your flashers on, do not speed, and then drive to, especially at night, drive to a better lit location or public space," she said. Putting your flashers on indicates you know a cop is behind you.

Know a traffic stop isn't always because you did something wrong, Fatheree said. Sometimes it's simply to help you out.

"Don't freak out, sometimes it's just something as simple as, 'Hey you've got a taillight out'," she said.