Every day in Indiana there are hundreds if not thousands of traffic stops that are performed by legitimate law enforcement officials performing their sworn duty. On a very rare occasion, a person impersonating a police enforcement officer comes to the attention of law enforcement and the public after performing a bogus traffic stop or falsely representing themselves as a public servant.
Indiana code states that a person who falsely represents that the person is a public servant, with intent to mislead and induce another person to submit to false official authority or otherwise to act to the other person’s detriment in reliance on the false representation, commits impersonation of a public servant, a Class A misdemeanor. However, a person who falsely represents that the person is a law enforcement officer; or an agent or employee of the department of state revenue, and collects any property from another person; commits a Level 6 felony.
Remember, in Indiana, a law enforcement officer cannot make a traffic stop for a traffic infraction in an unmarked vehicle unless they are in full uniform. A law enforcement officer can make a traffic stop for traffic infractions in civilian clothes only if they are operating a fully marked police car.
The following are some tips if you are questionable about the person attempting to stop you: Stop in a well-lighted and populated area; Lock all doors and only roll your window down enough so you can communicate (one or two inches); Ask for the officer’s identification (even if they are wearing something that has “police or sheriff’ on it); Do not leave your vehicle unless you are sure the person is a legitimate police officer; Call 911 and give the dispatcher your locationIf you don’t feel you should stop, drive the speed limit, with the emergency flashers on to attract attention. Proceed safely to location where you feel comfortable or until you observe a second police car.