Tips for spotting a police impersonator

Police impersonators have stopped and questioned drivers in at least two Colorado cities about why they are out during a statewide stay-at-home order. At this time, the Boulder Police Department has not received any reports of police imposters in our community.

Boulder police officers are not conducting traffic stops solely to ascertain why people are traveling. Officers are operating under the assumption that most violations will be unintentional providing education rather than enforcement. The hope is that criminal enforcement of the public health order will not become necessary.

Please consider the following when pulled over by a vehicle you believe may be a police impersonator.

  • Could you have done something that warranted being pulled over? Speeding, running a red light, U-turn, weaving, etc.
  • If something doesn’t feel right, call 9-1-1 as soon as it is safe to do so. Lock your vehicle and leave the window rolled up. Tell the person approaching you have called 9-1-1 to verify the officer’s agency. The dispatcher can verify that you are with a real police officer and let the officer know they are on the phone with you.
  • If you can pick a well-lit public area to pull over, you should do so.
  • If you are in a remote area, slow down and call 9-1-1. The 9-1-1 center will be aware an officer is trying to stop you. Keep moving until you can confirm the agency and the officer is identified. Turn on your emergency flashers and be clear you are not trying to flee the area.
  • Know your location. When you call 9-1-1, provide dispatchers with a description of your location to include city, street name and a landmark or store nearby. This will allow dispatchers to locate you quickly.

The Boulder Police Department utilizes marked and unmarked patrol vehicles. Most traffic stops are conducted by a police officer in uniform, but in some cases the officer is in regular clothing. All police officers in Colorado are required to carry an agency-issued identification card and business card with their name and agency. Ask to see the officer’s ID card and business card if you are concerned they are not a police officer.

Published: April 8, 2020