There have been increased incidences of police impersonators in Charleston, SC. Over the past few days, a man in Mt Pleasant who dressed as a police officer pointed a gun at a driver and jokingly asked him to touch it. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte also had the same experience when a man purporting to be a cop held him at gunpoint. This has prompted police officers to carry out a campaign to sensitize the public in knowing the difference between a real cop and a fake one.
According to Michael Fowler, who is a police officer at Hanahan Police Station, there are many ways to identify a fake police officer. For instance, a person has the right to ask for identification if he or she is skeptical of the officer’s legitimacy. If the officer cannot identify himself, that is a classic sign he may be impersonating.
Fowler says that the police officer should also give you the name of the agency he or she is working with. Be very much concerned with an officer who produces an ID, yet he or she cannot give the name of the agency responsible for his or her actions in the public. Fowler adds that it is important for a person to ensure the name and details in the ID match the badge patched on the shoulder.
The Police also advise people to comply and pull over whenever they are told so. However, if they feel uncertain with the police officer who orders them to pull over, they are free to call the relevant authorities for investigations. Fowler advises people in such situations to call 911 and indicate where they are. The police will send somebody from their department to access the situation and possibly interrogate and catch the suspect in the act.
In case the suspected impersonator begins to engage, Fowler advises that you comply. He advises people not to engage in arguments with such people for their own safety. He urged every resident of Charleton to remain vigilant of people who disrupt normal peace of the city and report them to authorities immediately.