CENTRAL TEXAS (FOX 44) — Most people have been pulled over before while driving, either for a traffic violation or safety precaution.
But one young woman in Central Texas was pulled over on April 1 by someone who was not a police officer.
Multiple law enforcement agencies shared the story online, explaining how she pulled over and noticed the man did not have a number on the presented badge so she called 9-1-1.
He then yelled at her to get out of the vehicle and once she told him she called the emergency number, he fled the scene.
Woodway Police Assistant Chief Larry Adams says this isn’t common but it does happen.
“Whether it’s day or night time, if you believe that it’s not an officer, you have any question in your mind whether that’s a real police officer behind you making a traffic stop,” he said. “The best thing I’d suggest is turn on those hazard lights, slow down, maybe acknowledge out the window that you see him and call 9-1-1.
In this case, dispatch told the woman there were no patrols in that area at the time.
Chief Adams says the best things to look for when questioning the legitimacy of the traffic stop is looking at the officer and what they are wearing.
“The majority of the time, the officer will be in full uniform,” he explained. “He’ll have a duty belt on which will have his handgun, possibly a taser, handcuffs, that sort of thing on his badge will usually have the department name on it, as well as a number identifying him as a police officer.”
But what if it’s an officer in an unmarked car and they aren’t in uniform?
“The best thing to do, like I say, is you may ask the officer for his I.D.” he told FOX 44 News. “He’ll have a police I.D. with him. Verify that. And if you’re still uncomfortable, call 9-1-1 during the stop.”
Chief Adams also recommended that if you are stopped for a traffic violation, make sure to keep your hands on the wheel while the officer is approaching your car, turn your interior lights on if it’s dark out and remain calm.