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Linglestown Gazette: BB AnswerLine: How to identify a fake cop

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

BB AnswerLine: How to identify a fake cop

Gazette reader Gwen Robbins submitted the following question related to "fake cop" incidents reported in the Harrisburg region:
Do the police have any advice for how young girls (or anyone) should react when being pulled over if there is a doubt about the identity of the person pulling them over? Should they put on hazard lights and go to a lighted area? Call 911 to confirm that it is the police pulling them over?
I posed the question to a Pennsylvania State Police spokeswoman who gave me the following tips:

The key thing to remember is to ask the officer some common-sense questions if you suspect that you might be dealing with a fake cop. Always, always ask the officer for identification, especially if the he or she is in plain clothes. If you are dealing with a city or borough police officer, ask for the police department’s name and telephone number. If you are dealing with a “real” officer, they will quickly put you in your place when you start asking these questions.

If the officer is unable to produce identification or has trouble answering basic questions, the best thing to do is end the conversation and drive away.

In the case that recently happened in part in Lower Paxton Twp., the teen became suspicious when she was asked about her marital status. She only opened her window an inch and sent a text message to her mom before driving away. Police praised the teen for wisely handling the situation.

Also, it’s good to know that state troopers are required to wear their hat when approaching citizens, while not all local police departments have a hat requirement.
BB AnswerLine is a free service provided by Linglestown Gazette and its subsidiary
Linglestown TV. CLICK HERE to submit a question via e-mail – please put “BB AnswerLine” in subject line.


At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe that the State Police have to "wear their hats" - that's an "old wives tale".

At 6:21 PM, Blogger BB said...

Thanks for checking out Linglestown Gazette, anonymous.

A spokesperson from the PA State Police told me about the hat requirement for troopers when they are approaching a vehicle.

At 10:52 PM, Anonymous HD said...

You're right Bill. My husband is a State Trooper and verified the same. Keep up the good reporting.


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