Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cop Impersonator

Cop impersonator had lights, badge

There have been people impersonating police for a very long time. In the 1940's Caryl Chessman was convicted of being the "Red Light" bandit. He did a series of robberies, rapes and kidnappings and was eventually executed for them. He would drive up to parked cars, flash a red light to make the people in the parked car think he was a police officer and then rob them or kidnap and rape the women.

I see the use of police patches, badges and lights as a way for the criminal to gain initial control over their victim. These days nearly everyone has a cellular phone. If they think the person who is stopping them is not a police officer they are better able to contact real police and find out what is happening. One more reason to make sure your dispatcher knows where you are and what you are doing.

The impersonation of a police officer is a very serious matter because it degrades the authority of the real police. These crimes need to be carefully investigated. They need to be prosecuted fully to insure the public's confidence in the integrity of law enforcement; that's the view from the Hysterical Right Wing.


Snickering Corpses said...

A few years back, we had a problem with a "blue light bandit" in our county. The county sheriff asked the news agencies to carry a broadcast for him, advising people on how to handle things.

Firstly, he showed the light system in the grill used on all their unmarked cars, and pointed out that none of the agencies locally use dashboard lights in their vehicles, which the bandits were using.

Secondly, he told people what to do if they weren't sure the cop trying to pull them over was legit. First, turn on emergency flashers. This would alert a legitimate officer that you were aware of them and not trying to run. Then drive on till you find a safe public location to pull over, if necessary one of the local police stations. And on the way, call the police and identify where you are so they can check whether there's a car in the area, and send someone to intercept the bandits if it is indeed the bandits.

Protect_and_Serve said...

This always seems like a big deal because of the authority the public gives the police and what a violation of that trust it is but it's really so rare as to be insignifigant compared to most cities other common crimes.