In recent news, in Gwinnet County, a man was arrested for claiming to be a police officer and threatening to kill two individuals. It is believed that the man was acting out of a fit of road rage. The man came up to a father and daughter, who parked in a gas station to tell police about the road rage incident, and yelled at them, “I am a (expletive) police officer, what the (expletive) is your problem?” The two told police that this man also threatened to kill them. He was shortly picked up by the police, however, identified by the father and daughter and arrested.
This poses the question, how common is it for someone to impersonate a police officer and what constitutes “impersonating a police officer?” Impersonating a police officer is when anyone “falsely assumes or exercises the functions, powers, duties and privileges of a police officer.” Different states have different laws, yet in many states even flashing red and blue lights or holding up a badge is considered “impersonating an officer.” Stricter penalties apply to individuals who possess a firearm while impersonating an officer. Under Georgia Code §16-10-23 it is a felony to impersonate a police officer, with a fine of up to $1,000 and one to five years in prison.
In other news, a man in North Fulton County, Georgia posed as an undercover officer at Rosswell Pain Management Clinic in order to receive prescription medication. While recently, somewhere else in the state, two security guards were charged with impersonating a police officer which resulted in the death of an 18-year-old man.
In another bizarre account one man not only claimed to be a police officer, he also claimed to have been murdered fourteen times. The man was beaten up by several individuals- whom he claimed he had search warrants for. His family told police that he has impersonated police in the past and that they have tried to dissuade him from doing so.
Another man in Calhoun, Georgia claimed he was a police officer after a traffic accident, insisting that the accident did not need to be reported. In Lumpkin County, police are searching for a man driving what appeared to be an unmarked police car (containing a push bumper, spotlight and blue lights) who pulled a woman over and assaulted her.
In yet another article, a private eye impersonated an officer in order to access redacted police reports for a client. The man was able to access unauthorized records from two police stations and a sheriff’s department after presenting a “doctored up” corrections ID.
Even presidential candidate Mitt Romney is under examination for supposedly impersonating a police officer back during his college days in California. His college friends/roommates claimed Romney loved a good prank and would frequently don on a Michigan state trooper uniform to pull friends over. Why do individuals dress up as/impersonate cops? Common reasons include:
- To get access into another’s home- in Richmond County a man impersonating a police officer gained access into a man’s home and took a bag of jewelry. In another story, four men in Freemansburg impersonated undercover police officers to steal jewelry and money from a residence.
- To assault someone- a man in Chicago impersonated a police officer by driving a car similar to a police cruiser equipped with flashing lights. The man pulled a woman over and proceeded to beat and rape her. In another story, an eighteen year old was pulled over by a man impersonating an officer and was sexually assaulted for an hour.
- To get out of something- a forty year old in Kentucky claimed he was an undercover officer so as not to be arrested for a shoplifting accident.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding impersonating a police officer, it is a crime that can get an individual into a lot of trouble. If you have been accused of impersonating a police officer or of another criminal act, you should seek legal help immediately!