Not Sure If That’s a Real Police Officer Pulling You Over?

From time to time, law enforcement will receive a report of someone who is apparently impersonating a police officer. Remember, not everyone who shows a badge is necessarily a cop. Although sale of authentic badges is supposed to be restricted to legitimate law enforcement personnel, badges are easily obtained through catalogs, collectors or even toy stores.

Nor can you assume that because a vehicle has a red light flashing on the dash, that that is a true police vehicle. Red lights of the type used by law enforcement can also be obtained through several sources.

Many cities have had serious incidents, when someone was pulled over by a police impersonator. To protect yourself, if someone is trying to pull you over and he isn't driving a marked police vehicle, trust your instincts and follow these safety suggestions:


  • If you're not sure if the person stopping you is a police officer, stay in your vehicle. Keep the doors locked. Roll down your window a crack, and ask to see the person's identification card. Most police departments issue identification cards to their officers that have the officer's picture on it.
  • If it is night and its dark out, ask the officer to follow you to a well lighted area. Police want to make you feel secure when they stop you, and shouldn't have a problem following you somewhere with better lighting.
  • If you're still not convinced the officer is real, ask him to have a uniformed police officer in a marked squad car come to your location. Police departments don't usually have plain clothes officers in unmarked cars making routine traffic stops. If they would have to stop you, a marked squad car is usually close behind.
  • At any point call 911 from your cell phone to verify this is really a police officer stopping you.


Sgt. Mark Buschena is a veteran police officer with 32 years experience. He is the author of "The Naked Truth About Personal Protection!" How to protect your life, family and property. Simple ways to protect yourself from thieves, muggers, rapists, robbers, burglars, con-artists, pick-pockets and other scum-of-the-earth! For more information, hurry on over to

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