Good Cop, Fake Cop: How Civilians Know the Difference

How to tell the difference between a fake cop and real cop. For civilians, it’s important to spot if a police officer is real or an impersonator. Police impersonators are committing crimes under the appearance of a traffic stop or a knock on the door. If someone questions an officer’s legitimacy, they will want to know the telltale signs of a real or fake cop. As a Police officer, you are trained to know the signs of an impostor, and should be aware of what civilians are looking for when you approach them. Because of many incidents in the news, civilians are wary of getting pulled over by cops and how much they should trust them.  

As an officer it is important to know the steps a civilian may need to take in order to trust you. For those in uniform and civilians alike, it is always better to be safe than sorry.Just this week in Florida there was a situation where a person who was impersonating an officer robbed a victim when he pulled him over. You can read the story here.  

Trained cops know that if you put your red and blue flashing lights on, to pull someone over, typically a civilian will comply. If they are at all suspicious they will put on their hazards. Some civilians may wait until a public and lit area to pull over. Cops need to remind civilians that follow this, that it is ok for them to be wary and safe as they comply. This also applies for when a cop knocks on a residential home. The resident may wait to call 911 to make sure the cop is legitimate.  

With the media buzzing with stories of impostors of law enforcement, it takes time for residents to rebuild trust in real cops, and learn to spot the fake ones. The increase of faux police crimes happening has surely made citizens more hesitant during interactions with law enforcement. This is why it is important to inform your local communities and schools on how to spot a fake police officer, and how to trust the real ones out there who work diligently to protect our neighborhoods.  

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