09/28/2007

New Calif. law requires uniform stores to check law enforcement ID

The Associated Press
Help sought to nab cop impersonators in W.Va.
Protecting the public from LE impersonators

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Retailers will be required to check the picture identification of customers buying law enforcement uniforms or face fines up to $1,000 under legislation signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
 

The bill by Assemblyman Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks, makes it a misdemeanor for vendors not to verify ID. Previous law made it illegal to impersonate police but did not require an ID check at the point of purchase.

Niello said the new law was needed because many law enforcement agencies require officers to buy uniforms through retailers.

He introduced the bill following a string of sexual assaults committed by police impersonators in Sacramento County, including cases in which three women who reported being assaulted in February after being pulled over by impersonators who drove cars with flashing lights and showed badges. There have been no arrests.

"It's really an issue of public trust in public safety officials," Niello said. "There were a couple crimes where some bad actors used a police uniform to misrepresent themselves and took advantage of people."

The measure takes effect Jan. 1.

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