Is a real police officer conducting the traffic stop? What to do if you’re unsure

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 6:03pm

BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — Today a disturbing story out of Mississippi has many motorists feeling uneasy. Two individuals were shot and killed by a man posing as a police officer. The two cases are separate, but in both the victims willingly pulled over their vehicle.

In a press conference held in Mississippi announcing the connection between the two shootings, authorities asked citizens to be careful if they are pulled over and feel uneasy. However, they did not note whether or not the vehicle was marked, or unmarked, or why they believed the suspect conducted a fake traffic stop.

This has many wondering what precautions they can take.

“You don’t want to give police the idea that you’re going to flee,” Cpl. Tommy Stubbs, Baton Rouge Police Department, explained. “You should put your emergency flashers on, drive to a well-lit, populated area and call 911. You should then give them your location, ask them what’s going on, and they should make contact with the officer and verify if he is in fact a police officer. If the person isn’t a police officer, they will have police in route to you. I suggest you do it in that order.”

Recently, a Baton Rouge woman was tricked by two individuals posing as law enforcement. They too conducted a phony traffic stop, but this was part of an elaborate scam for which the woman was conned out of $35,000.

That case was handled by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office at the end of April 2012. Although this instance did not end with physical harm, Capt. Lee Rice says you should always call 911 if you are uncomfortable by the situation.

“Even a plain clothed officer will be very nice and accommodating if you want to call dispatch to verify that they are in fact with law enforcement,” Capt. Rice, noted.

If you do not have a cell phone on you to call dispatch, you should make sure to only pull over in a high populated area.

“Just about every business now has security cameras. If they still continue to follow you in that type of area, they probably are a real police officer,” Cpt. Stubbs notes. “The whole point of going to a highly populated area is to ask people for help.”

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