Eastern Shore Information Center
Safety Tips - Police Impersonator
Those who impersonate police officers erode the public’s trust in law enforcement and may endanger unsuspecting people. There are several tips you can remember to protect yourself during a traffic stop while helping your police officers do their jobs.
* Make sure it is a marked police unit. If it is not a marked unit, the emergency lights should be built in and are usually not a temporary light placed on the vehicle.
* Try to stop in a well-lit area or a location where there are a lot of people present.
* Turn on your emergency flashers but don’t turn off your car.
* Lock your door and only open your window a few inches until you are confident that the officer is legitimate.
* Be polite but express your concerns when in doubt. Most legitimate police officers will understand your concerns when explained properly.
* Look for a uniform, official department jacket, and other equipment used by police officers for the performance of their duties.
* If the officer is in plainclothes, look for identifying clothing and equipment. If unsure, explain to the “officer” that you are unsure about the situation and ask them to display official department identification and badge.
* Ask where they work and if you can contact their dispatch center to confirm their identity.
* You may also request a marked patrol unit respond.
* Put on your flashers, drive the speed limit and call 911 from your cell phone. Tell the 911 dispatcher that you are concerned.
* If you do not have a cell phone, drive to an occupied, well-lit area, such as the parking lot of a busy store.
* Do not stop your vehicle or get out of your vehicle until a dispatcher can confirm you are being pulled over by a legitimate police officer.
* If the dispatcher cannot confirm that you are being pulled over by a police officer, stay on the line with the dispatcher. Drive carefully to a safe place, such as a local police department.
Stay safe, and report suspicious activity to police by dialing 911.