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Police Impersonators and How to Spot Them:
Street Approach- impersonator will approach in the open in some type uniform. Uniform cops know each other in their area and would get real interested in another uniformed cop in the beat. Now they can always use an obscure uniform like park police . knowing who they really are can be a problem. How do you know their badge is real? There are many places on the Internet to buy badges. Pawn shops, eBay etc sell police badges, real and copies. The copies are as good as the real ones.
One point is most real badges do have a badge number on the face of the badge. If the badge says chief or commissioner it may be without a badge number since there are only one of these issued. Most movie props and copies do not have numbers but real badges and out of date badges are easily purchased. I said most not all. This will help. If you are in doubt pick up a cell phone call the agency he says he is from and ask to verify his identity and report the encounter. Say things like there is a guy or gal saying he is a cop of yours and has a badge but is acting funny and I am scared can you help, I am at this location, my name is etc. They will know the officer, contact him on the radio or his cell or send a marked unit out there fast. Again they hate impersonators and will be motivated.
Use of Credentials with or without Badge– Credentials are ID cards, plastic laminated with photo. They are often in a leather case. Some police departments issue one ID card with a metal badge. It is hard for a citizen to know what real credentials look like. Badges can be fake as well as credentials so the answer is to call and verify. Federal officers and agents often display these double ID cards by themselves to identify themselves.
No one really knows what these credentials look like so the thing to do is call the agency and ask for verification. If you try to find pictures of these credentials on the Internet you will draw a blank. I guess they are afraid of people making copies of them. The ID you see on the TV shows is not authentic and the real ones are different looking. If the Federal Agent does not have a badge, just credentials he or she probably is not authorized to arrest you or carry a gun. These are referred to as soft credentials. So if you encounter one and they have a gun and no badge when asked for one, be careful this is a good sign that you have an impersonator.
Most police and federal officers will wear a badge on their belt in front of their gun. This is if they do not care who knows their identity. If they are trying to conceal who they are the gun will be more concealed and the badge maybe on a neck chain under a shirt or in a wallet in a pocket or purse. If you encounter a suspicious person showing any sort of credentials or badge just call 911 and say a suspicious person is saying they are a law enforcement officer and you think they are acting strange and you are scared, providing your location early on in the call and your name. No real law enforcement officer is going to get that upset by this behavior. They will act bored, annoyed or may even be supporting this behavior.
What If they Demand You to Open The Door– This happens more than the media lets on. You get a knock at the door and there are two unmarked cars out side with men in marked raid jackets that say Police or something on them (easily bought on the internet) saying open the door, lay down on the floor displaying your empty hands, secure any dogs or they will be shot, etc. What do you do?
First look to see if there are any marked cars with uniformed officers present. If so probably real police, if no marked cars be careful. Lock yourself in an interior room with a secure door. Get on cell phone, call the police give your address right off and describe the situation fast. Ask them if this is a real raid or if these are impersonators. Ask for uniformed cars to be dispatched if they are saying well it might be another agency raiding you. They will send a car or two over to see what is going on. Usually one agency will tell the local police they are conducting raid even if just a few minutes before. Do not come out until the police arrive.
Shout out to them wait until the uniformed police arrive, they have been called, they do not know about the raid. Real law enforcement would probably bring a uniformed local police person for a door-kicking raid. This should unsettle them significantly if they are imposters and they might take off. Try to get the license plate and car description but do not expose yourself, peek out of a window. They may say we cannot wait, you may be destroying the drugs etc. Ignore them. Say the police do not know of this raid and are coming.
Real police will have notified the locals before they go kicking in doors. They may insist they are coming in. Now you are in a tough spot. Are they real or not. If you have a gun get ready to use it. If you have a dog keep the dog in the room with you. Try to stay on the cell phone with the police so they can record everything in case you need to shoot them if they break door down and rush you. Ask the dispatcher what the ETA (estimated time of arrival) is for the police being dispatched. The dispatcher will ask the officer rolling to you who will give an ETA and the dispatcher will tell you. If it is long then talk to the recorder and say that is too long they are going to kill me, I am scared. What am I going to do, they are going to shoot me and my dog. Help me. Send a helicopter.
You are playing for the jury now and want them to know you fear for your life in case you do shoot someone. They need to hear terror and fear in your voice. The police response time where you live could be 15 minutes and they might know this and decide to rush you. They may know you have valuables, this could be a kidnapping, murder, who knows. People impersonating police can be very unsettling to a person who may have even been a police person or Special Forces soldier themselves for many years. It causes hesitation and delay in responses. The consequences for killing a police officer are always bad.
Enforcement Comes to You and Presents a Search Warrant – First of all are there uniformed officers with marked cars present? If not caution. Many private investigators that work for the rich and famous, big law firms and large corporations are ex-law enforcement people. They do impersonate police to get information for their clients. They will have unmarked cars, raid jackets, credentials, badges and even search warrants that look good. Forget the validity of the search warrant for now. First lets see if they are real.
Say calmly you are going to call the police to verify their identity. The locals should know they are serving a search warrant. Tell the local police your location, your name and that there are people there saying they are law enforcement but they are acting funny and you are scared please send help fast. Their hatred for impersonators will get them motivated to come unless they can readily ascertain this is a real serving of a search warrant. The officers should stay calm and wait for you to verify them.
It is always best to have the local police come so if they are false they may run away before they get there or maybe try to stop you from making the call. These calls should be done from behind closed doors, before you let them in. If you verify their identity then make sure the dispatcher knows they are serving a search warrant. Sometime real police can use a false search warrant to get client information. If the police try to leave with your computers, books, records etc you should be given receipts.
What you SEE-HEAR-FEEL-KNOW- about police officers in your city is your best weapon against these impersonators
Most people think they can spot an online scam. But the truth is, scammers work very hard to “appear” reputable, to seem like a good opportunity, like a “new, innovative” program and — most often — like a very stable, reputable program. This is part of their strategy: To appear to be like all the genuine opportunities. They do this because, while they want to stand out from the crowd, they don’t want to stand out too much.