How to look out for a phony police officer - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports


How to look out for a phony police officer

You're driving down the highway and then you see those dreaded blue lights in your rearview mirror. When a car is a marked police cruiser, we know what's next, but what if it's not? What should you do if you are stopped by an unmarked car?

Sheriff Jim Matthews says, "I don't believe an officer is going to fault a woman if she drives on to a lighted gas station or a public area that they'll be other people around to see what's going on, nobody's going to fault her for that."

Sheriff Matthews says the first thing you should do when someone steps out of an unmarked car - you should check for a uniform. You can also call 911 to verify that it's a legitimate stop. Matthews says, "say to the 911 dispatcher, that I'm being pulled over by an unmarked vehicle, I'm on 521 highway at a certain road wherever it is where you are, can you verify that there's an officer calling in the traffic stop."

Also, crack your window and ask for ID. Matthews says don't roll your window down all the way. Looking at the lights can also help determine if they're professionally installed. If so, it's likely a legitimate officer.  "Nowadays, you don't see too many agencies using the old bubble blue light you can put on your dash or put on the roof of your vehicle with a chord coming into your cigarette lighter. Most agencies [are] using some installed lights that just a regular person wouldn't do, it has to be professionally installed."

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