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Keeping You Safe: How to spot a fake police officer

Ask questions and call for help
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 7:08 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - In this week’s Keeping You Safe, learn how to spot a real police officer and someone who is impersonating one.

Myrtle Beach Police Department has a fleet of unmarked vehicles and said you’re not supposed to know when officers are using the cars to catch speeders or enforcing other traffic laws.

But if a car is pulling you over and you’re not sure if they’re a real cop, Traffic Officer Aaron Allston said there are things police officers will tell you that impersonators won’t.

“They’ll tell you that they’re being audio and video recorded. Hopefully, they’ll have a body camera, nameplate. They’ll tell you the agency that they’re working for,” Allston said.

You also have the right to ask them questions like the officer’s name, agency name and badge number.

If you feel like you’re in danger, Allston said to flash your hazard lights and call 911.

“Just tell them what’s happening, that you’re being pulled over by an unmarked unit. You’re not sure if it’s a police officer or not and drive to the well-lit area. That way the dispatchers, if they’re not already having the officers, the one that’s behind you talking to them, they’ll get other officers in route,” he said.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to call for help.

“You might think it’s something simple, it might not be something so simple to us. That’s what we do. That’s what we’re here for. We come out and handle the problems” Allston said.

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