SUFFOLK, Va. — Suffolk Police are investigating after a person was reportedly pulled over by a man who was impersonating a police officer.
The incident happened shortly before 9 a.m. on Tuesday. A man was driving in the 1500 block of Freeman Mill Road when another vehicle pulled him over. He was then confronted by a man claiming to be a police officer.
The suspect was described as a white man in his 50s or 60s, approximately six feet tall and weighing 200 pounds. He had brown and gray hair and a gray mustache.
The suspect's vehicle was a late-model white Dodge Charger with no police markings, but with a police-style spotlight on the driver's side door.
Following a verbal argument with driver, the fake officer left in his own vehicle.
An investigation is ongoing, but police wanted to alert citizens in case they find themselves in a similar situation.
Police offer the following tips to protect yourself 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.
If you know anything about this incident, you're asked to call the Suffolk Police Department or the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.