Highway Drug Interdiction
with Andrew Hawkes
Five ways to stop police impersonators
Law enforcement officers across the country share information everyday about suspected police impersonators that are roaming our streets, conducting traffic stops, committing crimes, often violent in nature, and then driving off into the abyss. Here's the typical description: “a white car with lights and a male in a dark uniform with some unknown type of badge.”
Stopping these offenders — or at the very least hindering their illegal operation — doesn’t have to be difficult. It is funny to me how some lawmakers can overlook such small loopholes in our statutes that sometimes create huge problems.
For example, in Texas we have quite a few offenses that involve criminals impersonating police. Here are a few of my suggestions that the legislature could act upon to help stop this problem:
1. Stop selling used retired squad cars to the general public. We drive Ford Crown Vics that are simply stripped of the decals and sold at auction to anyone that wants to pay $3,000. The next thing you know is you’re on patrol and you see a vehicle and you can’t tell if it’s a detective from a nearby agency or an impersonator. Everyone from volunteer firemen to minimum wage security guards is driving white Crown Vics with spotlights and dark tinted windows. This practice has to stop.
2. Write new and tougher legislation on flashing lights and strobes. Don’t allow everyone and there mother to have some variation of legal strobes. Narrow the statutes and be extremely specific about the use of all types of colored strobe lights and limit them to emergency vehicles only.
3. For the love of God, come up with a standardized, across-the-board uniform for all private security guards and make sure that they do not resemble police uniforms in any way. I’ve seen uniforms and security “patrol” vehicles that are exact matches for the Dallas Police Department with the only difference being the tiny wording on the patches or the car.
4. Enact legislation to stop the practice in law enforcement agencies driving unmarked, colored squad cars. When you see an unmarked, colored squad car, everybody still know it’s the police, so what purpose do these vehicles serve? They are not covert so either mark them out or drive something that’s truly covert.
5. We as police officers must be more understanding when it comes to the average citizen wanting (even expecting) “proof” that we are indeed the police. Impersonators have created this problem, but as a cop I have to be patient and not be offended if I need to show someone my ID card, let them read the wording on my badge or patch, and even hand everyone that I encounter my business card. I tell my family, if someone who looks like a police officer stops them and there’s even the slightest question about them, they should ask to see these things. If and if you are a real cop you should have no problem comforting them. It can’t be an ego thing; it must be handled as a safety issue.
God bless the men and women in blue that put their life on the line to serve and protect. And if you are one that wants to be a fake to commit crimes, watch out, because we are coming for you.