Sheriff warns of fake officer


The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department is asking the public to be on the lookout for a police impersonator.

A reserve officer responded to a call from a woman reporting that a black sport utility vehicle had pulled over her daughter at about 2 a.m. Sunday in the 7400 block of North Base Road in the Cortland area.

The woman told police the vehicle had “white flashing lights in the front window.”

The man took the daughter’s driver’s license, asked how old she was, where she lived and if she had been drinking and gave her license back before getting back in his vehicle and leaving, according to police reports.

The suspect is a white male, around 6 feet in height and was wearing jeans and a black hooded sweatshirt at the time of the incident, Sheriff Mike Carothers said Monday.

“In general, a police officer will be in a marked police vehicle, distinctive police uniform displaying a badge of authority or both,” Carothers said. “An officer is not supposed to make a stop if they are not in uniform and in an unmarked vehicle.”

Also, while white flashing lights may be visible, all Indiana police vehicles use red and blue colored lights, Carothers said. The impersonator may be doing it as a joke or on a dare, but Carothers said that doesn’t make it any better.

“We’ve had a few cases in the past, and it’s not a good situation,” he said. “It’s scary, and it’s a serious offense. We will stop it because we don’t want to see it escalate into a situation where someone gets hurt.

“When in doubt if you’re being stopped by an actual police officer, dial 911,” he added. “We will find out real quick if the person is legit, and we’ll have someone there just as quick if they aren’t.”

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