Breckenridge Texan

Area law enforcement agencies issue warning about imposter officer

Area law enforcement agencies issue warning about imposter officer
November 29
18:29 2021

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Area law enforcement agencies are on the lookout for a man allegedly impersonating an officer after he reportedly stopped a woman on a dark, rural highway in western Young County earlier this month.

According to information from the Young County and Throckmorton County sheriffs’ offices, a Throckmorton woman was traveling from Graham to Throckmorton on U.S. Highway 380 around 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 19. The traveler was stopped by a dark SUV near FM 578. The vehicle had no markings and only displayed a set of red and blue dash lights. The woman was approached by a white male not wearing any type of uniform or badge, but he had a gun belt with a holstered pistol. The man ordered her to exit the vehicle due to having a license plate light out.

The Young County Sheriff’s Office has released this sketch of a man who allegedly used flashing lights on an unmarked vehicle to pull over a vehicle on U.S. Highway 380 between Graham and Throckmorton. (Image courtesy of the Young County Sheriff’s Office)

According to the reports, he did not identify himself to be with any agency. The woman did not exit the vehicle and when two vehicles passed by and applied their brakes, he returned to his vehicle, made a u-turn and left the scene. He was last seen turning on FM 578 toward Murry.

More specifically, he was described as a tall white man in his late 20s or early 30s, wearing a long-sleeve white shirt, jeans, a black gun belt with gun and a ball cap pulled down low over his eyes. He had scruffy facial hair and a deep voice. The Young County Sheriff’s Office released a sketch of the man described by the witness.

Stephens County Sheriff Kevin Roach said that although the county does have a couple of unmarked vehicles, they are generally not used for traffic enforcement; therefore, it is unlikely that anyone would be stopped by a SCSO officer in an unmarked vehicle for something like a non-working license plate light.

“Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely, not really,” he said.

Additionally, Roach said, any SCSO officer is going to be wearing a badge, either over their heart or on their belt, and will identify themselves and the agency that they are with.

In a Facebook post, Throckmorton Sheriff Doc Wigington advised anyone who doubts that a vehicle attempting to stop them is actually a law enforcement officer should call 9-1-1 and advise them of the situation. Drivers who are uneasy about stopping for an unmarked vehicle can also slow down, turn on their flashers and drive to the nearest law enforcement office, he said.

Roach agreed with that advice. “Out in rural areas, people get leery, especially females alone,” he said. “The dispatcher is going to be able to verify whether it’s an officer or not. So that is one way (to deal with a questionable situation), obviously signaling that you’re not fleeing is very needed. The officer doesn’t know what’s going on.”

If a citizen slows down, puts their flashers on and calls 9-1-1, the officer will be able to determine that they are not evading arrest, Roach said.

“There’s a there’s a difference between evading and failure to stop,” Roach explained. “So with evading, most of the time, suspects usually increase their speed. They might turn off headlights. They start violating the law, running red lights or stop signs. Someone that’s just not stopping doesn’t do all that. And one of the things that we encourage people to do is turn your flashers on. Anything to signal ‘Hey, I know you’re there. I’m just not pulling over.'”

Roach also said that it isn’t legal for non-emergency vehicles to display flashing red and blue lights.

If you do stop for someone who has indicated in some way that they are a law enforcement officer and then you become suspicious of their identity, Roach said, the first thing you should do is to ask to see a badge and/or identification. If they do not have identification, call 9-1-1 and then drive to the nearest law enforcement center.

If you have any information about the suspected impersonator, call the Young County Sheriff at 940-549-1555 or the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office at 254-559-2481.

 


The Breckenridge Texan is in the midst of our annual fundraising campaign with the national organization NewsMatch. Donations made through the end of December will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by NewsMatch. The Breckenridge Texan is a non-profit news website covering Stephens County and Breckenridge, Texas, that depends on donations, as well as advertising, to continue our work. We appreciate your contributions. To make a donation, click here.


 

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