Rash of Phony Police Officers Plaguing Departments, Residents

Dec. 21, 2021
Fake traffic stops, phone scams and a sexual assault. Incidents involving phony law enforcement officers have been occurring around the country throughout December.

Police departments across the country have been plagued by incidents involving people impersonating officers. In some cases, the imposters have just pulled over motorists, but other times, the incidents were more threatening and dangerous.

OFFICER.com has compiled a roundup of some of the incidents involving phony law enforcement officers that have occurred in December.

Dec. 5

A man in Missouri was arrested in connection with impersonating a police officer and making traffic stops, as well as claiming to be a firefighter.

Blues Springs police apprehended the suspect tailed firefighters on two separate calls, The Kansas City Star reports. After being pulled over, the man claimed to be a firefighter before turning himself.

The suspect allegedly was responsible for illegal traffic stops at least as far back as Nov. 23, and police are asking for more victims to come forward.

Dec. 7

A person in Texas was sexually assaulted when they were pulled over by a man who was driving a vehicle that appeared to be a police cruiser with a flashing light.

The incident happened at about 7 p.m. in Williamson County, just outside of Walburg, the Austin American-Statesman reports. No other details were given concerning the man, his vehicle or the assault. 

Dec. 11

Five men are accused of searching for an individual at a North Carolina while impersonating police officers.

Gastoria police responded to a call concerning a possible motel burglary shortly after 1 a.m. and encountered the suspects, the Charlotte Observer reports. According to police, the men had flashlights—and one was armed—as they searched at least two rooms, announcing that they were law enforcement as they entered.

The men were arrested, and they were each charged with impersonating a police officer.

“We do not know what the ultimate motive was for these individuals, especially since one of them was armed,”  a Gastonia Police Department spokesman told the Observer. “A serious tragedy may have been averted because the person who called us saw something and said something.”

Dec. 12

Sheriff's deputies arrested a Florida firefighter who was accused of impersonating an officer and brandished a gun in an apparent road rage incident.

Anthony Jamaul Woods, an Orange County, was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, as well as impersonating a police officer, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The incident happened at about 5:30 p.m., when Woods began pursuing another vehicle that passed him.

According to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Woods then allegedly cut off the other vehicle as the driver was making a U-Turn. Woods continued to pursue the driver and followed him into a cul-de-sac.

Once there, Woods parked in front of the other vehicle and exited his car. He drew his gun, a Springfield Armory Hellcat 9mm semiautomatic, and approached the driver's side window of the other car.

“You almost hit me and I’m a police officer/firefighter,” Woods said, according to court documents.

The confrontation didn't escalate, and the other driver drove away before calling 9-1-1. When deputies questioned Woods at an Orange County Fire Rescue station, he said he misspoke when he identified himself as a police officer.

“I meant first responder-firefighter," Woods told the deputies. "I was talking too quickly ... That was my fault."

In 2019, Woods was suspected of aggravated assault in connection with another road rage in Miramar. He has been placed on leave from the fire department pending an administrative hearing.

Dec. 18

Texas deputies apprehended a man who allegedly tried to conduct traffic stops while trying to impersonate a police officer.

According to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, deputies were called to an intersection just before 8 p.m. after a man in a vehicle with red and blue lights was trying to pull over other drivers, the El Paso Times reports. Authorities located and stopped the car, which was not a law enforcement vehicle.

The 21-year-old man was charged with impersonating a public servant. He also was charged with the manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance after drugs were found in his car.

Colorado and Wyoming Phone Scam

Phone scammers posing as law enforcement officers is plaguing Colorado and Wyoming.

The FBI's Denver issued a warning concerning the scam late this month, the Greeley Tribune reports. Impersonating local police officers, the caller claims that victims have outstanding warrants or fines. The fake law enforcement official then asks for money in order to resolve the issue and avoid.

In order to maintain the deception, the scammerwho usually has a Southern accent—uses spoofed law enforcement phone numbers, as well as names and roles of real officers. They also appear to be targeting women with well-paying jobs and an online presence.

"The FBI warns citizens that if they receive a phone call from someone claiming to be law enforcement asking for money or gift cards, to hang up and report it to their local law enforcement authorities and the FBI," FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said.

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