Pretend Cop Pulls Over Real Cop

Bill Mattocks

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Omar B

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Last winter a fake firefighter set a fire in an apartment hallway to gain entry into a girl's apartment and rape her. A couple fake cops have committed robberies all around the city.
 

Bob Hubbard

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This has long been a complaint of mine. Too easy to get the gear and rig your car so it looks like an unmarked car. I think they need to obviously outlaw using unmarked cars for traffic stops, and stick to conventional patrol cars for that. Make it harder for the wannabes to fake out people.
 

jks9199

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There was an imposter in the Mid-west a few years ago who decided to call for backup while conducting a traffic stop... :shrug: I don't know what he expected the real cops would do on arrival and discovering he wasn't a cop...

Then there was a guy in my area last year who decided to stop a car. Oops. Maybe he shouldn't have done this just after shift change, a few blocks from the PD. Seems that the officer who was stopped wasn't too amused... (OK, I may have exaggerated the location a little for comedic effect... but he really did stop a cop on her way home from work!)

These idiots come up pretty regularly... I had a guy a few years ago who got real lucky that the prosecutor chickened out. We got called for a fight outside a dentist's office. The witness advised that she saw a guy beating up a girl, and when she tried to intervene and threatened to call the cops, he opened his coat, pointed to a badge and said that he was the cops. Uh... not even close. Only reason he wasn't convicted is that his daughter was a mess...
 

Carol

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There was a story last year that was kind of funny. A middle-aged dude got in to an argument with a woman at city laundromat. The dude pulls a John Kerry "Do you know who I am?" and when the woman said no, he pulled a fake badge and threatened to arrest her.

The woman walked away, and called the real Boston PD. Book 'em Dano ;)
 

Empty Hands

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So what are we supposed to do when someone kicks down the door in the middle of the night shouting "Police"? The courts have already shown us what happens when you defend yourself against the real police. The criminals have shown us what happens when you don't defend yourself against the fake police. What are we supposed to do other than "don't be unlucky"? For one, I would suggest a deescalation in no-knock raids and the use of SWAT units. For traffic stop type situations though, what can we look for or do? Especially since plainclothes units are involved in some stops?
 

sgtmac_46

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So what are we supposed to do when someone kicks down the door in the middle of the night shouting "Police"? The courts have already shown us what happens when you defend yourself against the real police. The criminals have shown us what happens when you don't defend yourself against the fake police. What are we supposed to do other than "don't be unlucky"? For one, I would suggest a deescalation in no-knock raids and the use of SWAT units. For traffic stop type situations though, what can we look for or do? Especially since plainclothes units are involved in some stops?

I have always expressed my view that no-knock warrants are fundamentally dangerous and should be used ONLY in extraordinary circumstances, and then with much oversight........i've seen first hand how it is a volatile situation that can be dangerous for all sides.

At the same time it is a tool that should remain available......but should be considered ONLY as an extreme measure, and much extra caution should be applied to it's use.
 

jks9199

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Let me address Bob's post about being stopped by unmarked cruisers as well as search warrants...

First, most agencies whose policies I'm familiar with have restrictions on pursuits and/or stops in unmarked cars. This is only partly in response to impostors; there are also major safety issues given the reduced visibility of an unmarked car or even a slick top. More restrictions are generally added to plainclothes or non-uniformed stops. But those don't help the general public...

Generally, if you're concerned about the identity of a police officer stopping you, ask for ID. Assume that lights are valid, to the extent of stopping. You can roll the window down enough to talk, but not so far as to be in immediate danger until you see an ID or uniform. Ask 'em to call for another unit; few impostors have a backup impostor available! Most plainclothes officers will try to have a uniformed car make the traffic stop when practical. Call 911; realize that the 911 center may not be the dispatch center for the officer. (It's not where I work -- but the can contact the right cops pretty easily, or send one of theirs if there's any question.)

Search warrants are a different beast entirely.

Different states have different rules, but most view a no-knock or exigent entry as an exception to the rule. Some require that you establish separate PC in the application and affidavit to support the no-knock entry, while others allow you to make the call on the scene. Generally, there's going to be no mistaking an actual entry. It'll be loud, fast, but controlled. Typically, there will be a surprisingly large number of people, and there will often be a uniformed presence, though they may be outside during the initial entry. Yeah, I'm being vague. Sorry, tactical issues that could endanger a cop, and I'm not going to discuss 'em.

It's a tough call, and exigent or no-knock entry is usually done because it's believed to be the safest way to execute that particular search warrant. I firmly believe that all no-knock entries should be reviewed. If it's planned in advance, the reason for the exigent entry should be discussed, and agreed to. If it's a response to exigency at the time of the entry -- it should be reviewed and assessed later. The goal of the review should be to determine if it was necessary, and what can be done to control the situation better in the future.

I've done exigent entries. I've done 'em both as a planned entry and, more often, as a response to developments at the door. And I've done forced entries when the door wasn't opened for us. They're all rather scary to do -- because you've got a lot happening pretty fast. Our first choice is almost always to do a controlled entry after calling occupants out.
 

Carol

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One of the original concerns I had about moving to the night shift was being pulled over by an unmarked at night...when its harder to get a really good look at the car or the officer.

Well...3 years (and a few traffic stops) later, I have rarely seen the unmarked s out at night. When the cars were in action, I never saw the unmarked as the car that pulled the other motorist over, it was always the backup car.

The best advice that I got on the subject was from Archangel and JKS, that advised paying close attention to the cruisers that are out on the road. I no longer have to take a long drive down an interstate where staties vigilantly patrol for drunks, but I do have about 20 miles of country road to drive (with little to no drunks).

The vigilance has paid off, I'm learning their favorite speed traps :D
 
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