SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Police investigated a September complaint about a man impersonating an officer in Suffolk.
A driver was traveling in the 1500 block of Freeman Mill Road around 9 a.m. Tuesday when he says he was pulled over by a man claiming to be a police officer. The driver later reported to Suffolk Police that the man was driving a late model white Dodge Charger. He said there were no markings on the car, but that it did have a police-style spotlight on the driver’s side door.
According to the driver, the man was in his 50s or 60s, is about 6′ tall and approximately 200 pounds with brown and gray hair and a gray mustache
After a thorough investigation, police identified the suspect as an employee of the Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
The case was submitted to Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for legal analysis and review where Commonwealth’s Attorney C. Phillips “Phil” Ferguson declined to prosecute. Ferguson determined there was no evidence of criminal misconduct.
Suffolk police recommend drivers follow these precautions during a traffic stop:
- 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 in a location where there are a lot of people present (Shopping Center, Fire Station, Restaurant Parking lot, etc.)
- Turn on your emergency flashers but don’t turn off your car.
- Do not get out of the vehicle to meet the officer and lock your door.
- 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. Call 9-1-1 to advise of your location and to confirm their identity. You may also request a marked patrol unit respond.
- If in a remote or dark area, call 9-1-1 to advise them of the incident and your location, provide a description of your vehicle and the suspect vehicle, and travel at a low, safe speed with your emergency flashers on until you reach an area where you feel safe or as advised by Emergency Dispatchers.
- Pay attention to what they are asking. Most officers will advise you of the reason for the stop and request your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.
- If they immediately tell you to get out of the car without any preliminary questions, be suspicious. Trust your instincts. If they don’t seem to be a real police officer, they are probably not.