What to do if you suspect someone is impersonating a police officer

Updated: Oct. 4, 2017 at 9:15 PM CDT
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LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- The Lawton Police Department is sharing tips on what to do if you believe someone is impersonating a police officer. This comes after a Lawton man was charged today for committing that crime last week.

On Saturday, police said they spotted 32-year-old Robert Powell in an SUV with red and amber lights trying to pull over a car on Rogers Lane.
Police tried to stop him, but say he sped off and eventually crashed before running away. After he was caught, police connected him to pulling over a woman named Echo Stevenson last Thursday.

Police said when you are able to do so in a safe area, get on your cell phone, call 911, and tell them you feel like something suspicious is going on. You can ask them to verify the officers name, or badge number to make sure the traffic stop is legit.

"Tell the person tell the officer if it is a police officer. Tell them I wan to make sure this is a real traffic stop. I'm going to call dispatch and verify and you have that right to do so," said Jenkins.

Impersonating a police officer is a crime the Lawton Police Department rarely sees.

"It's not a common occurrence, it doesn't happen everyday but we never want to see anything like this happen in our city where somebody is impersonating a police officer but when it does happen we want to always give the citizens a guide to take on when something like this happens and what to do in case you feel like you are in case you are not being pulled over legitimately. We want to make sure you guys are safe," said Jenkins.

When a cop pulls you over look for signs that ensure it is a real traffic stop.

"If the officer does not tell you why he is pulling you over or ask for your drivers license or insurance for the vehicle does not ask for or give you some type of reason of what's going on and why you are being stopped that should be a warning."

Pay attention to an officers clothing.

"Absolutely always look at what they are wearing, look at the gear, their badge, name plate, patches on their uniform things like that to make sure," said Jenkins.

Believe it or not, impersonating a police officer is an easy crime to commit.

"Its very easy criminals or anybody if they are wanting to go out and do something. There's the internet, social media, there ways to get information on how to do something, and a lot of times they do that. They can go online and order patches , or go on Ebay, or make something at home to make its easy for them to do that and make their vehicle look like a police car," said Jenkins.

Police said Powell faces several charges including eluding police, resisting officers, driving under the influence, having a suspended license, and impersonating a police officer which is a felony. If convicted he could face up to 10 years in prison.

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