The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office reported that a female parish resident was pulled over in the Clifton area at approximately 10:00 p.m. the evening of Friday, August 16, by two men in an unmarked dark colored SUV who claimed to be law enforcement officers. The men, one white male and one black male, did not wear uniforms and did not display badges.
The incident began as the woman was approaching Highway 25 in her vehicle. The dark SUV was behind her with headlights flashing, followed by a single blue light which appears to have been on the dash of the vehicle. Seeing the blue light, the woman pulled over and noticed that the blue light was turned off as soon as she stopped. At that time, the two males exited their vehicle, approached her car and asked for her driver’s license. They then returned to their vehicle as if they were checking the status of her license. After returning to the woman’s vehicle and returning her driver’s license, they searched her purse and her glove compartment before allowing her to continue on her way.
According to Chief Deputy Mike Haley, the Sheriff’s Office does have some deputies who do not wear uniforms and does have some unmarked vehicles. None of those deputies were working in the Clifton area Friday night and no Sheriff’s Office vehicles match the description given by the victim. He stated, “None of our unmarked vehicles have a single blue light on the dash. Our vehicles have multiple flashing blue lights on the front and rear. In addition, our non-uniform deputies always wear a badge on the outside of their clothing to identify themselves as officers.”
Sheriff Randy Seal cautions parish residents who are concerned about being pulled over by a suspicious vehicle, especially at night, to immediately call 911 on their cell phone to determine whether or not the vehicle is a law enforcement vehicle. “Our 911 operator will know if the traffic stop is being made by one of our officers and can inform the caller. If it is suspected that someone is impersonating an officer, we will dispatch deputies to that area immediately.”
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating this incident and treating it as False Personation of a Peace Officer. Conviction of that offense calls for a fine up to $1,000 dollars or imprisonment for up to two years, or both.
“If we find anyone who is impersonating a law enforcement officer, “said Sheriff Seal, “we will arrest them and put them in jail. The actions of these two men clearly indicate to us they were not law enforcement officers. The motive of these two men is not clear, but it is possible they were seeking prescription pills or personal information that could lead to a later residential burglary.’
Any person who has additional information about this incident is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 839-3434.