Bethlehem police warn of possible fake cop

January 09, 2019 11:28 PM

BETHLEHEM – The Town of Bethlehem Police Department is investigating a report of a possible police impostor. Now they’re taking the time to remind drivers what to do if they're pulled over by an unmarked police car.

Police said it happened last Friday on Route 9W in the area of Church Road. They said a driver was pulled over by a black Chevrolet sedan. It had a red and blue flashing dash light and no front license plate. The driver thought he was being pulled over by a police officer.

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"The motorist reporting they stopped for having an insufficient tale light, however the motorist and the alleged police officer examined the tail light and saw it was actually working properly,” said Commander Adam Hornick with the Town of Bethlehem Police Department.

Police say the driver then asked several times for the alleged officer’s identification and tried to verify their identity. That’s when the person became skeptical that it wasn't a real officer, so they got back in their car and left. Commander Hornick said as of now, it’s difficult to speculate on why this person may have posed as an officer.

"We don't know if they were attempting to commit a crime against the person, if they're out there just joy riding, having fun, messing with people for a lack of a better term," said Hornick.

Hornick said it is legal for an unmarked police car to pull people over in New York State, which he said can sometimes be unsettling to drivers. He said there are tips people can follow to make sure they’re being stopped by a real officer.

"They know the motorists are already going to be skeptical if they're a police officer or not, so these officers are highly trained and try to stop people in a well-lit, populated area whenever possible,” said Hornick.

Hornick said the officer should not only verbally identify themselves and which department they’re with, but also show the driver their badge.

"If they're still skeptical at that point, they can use their own phone and Google that police department and call and verify it,” explained Hornick.

But if people are still unsure, there is one final step they can take.

"At least active your four way flashers so we know that you recognize someone is trying to stop you, then proceed to a well-lit area, populated area. Doesn't mean accelerate, speed, fly down the road," said Hornick.

Anyone that may have been in the area when the incident happened and saw a car pulled over is asked to call police at (518) 439-9973 or share your information through Capital Region Crime Stoppers.


WNYT Staff

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