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Abusing authority: Police arrest man accused of impersonating officer

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MILWAUKEE -- A 40-year-old Milwaukee man has been arrested for impersonating a police officer. Investigators tell FOX6 the man identified himself as an officer and ordered a driver to pull over.impersonating-officer2

Those that live in the area say it's particularly disturbing since a school filled with children is nearby.

"It's an uneasy feeling that anybody can just abuse that authority," said Mahogani Cheeks.

Cheeks works at Highland Community School. She's been a member of the community for more than 20 years.

She's concerned a man was attempting to impersonate a police officer in her neighborhood.

"I'm going to stress the fact that a school is there. That makes it more unsettling for me as a parent and a staff member," said Cheeks.

Mahogani Cheeks

Mahogani Cheeks

Milwaukee police say on Thursday, November 3, at 2:45 p.m., a 40-year-old Milwaukee man identified himself as a police officer and ordered a passing driver to pull over.

Police have yet to say what happened next but the suspect is now in custody.

A source with FOX6 tells us he was wearing a police-like uniform and his car was similar to an unmarked squad car.

Criminal justice expert Brian Dorow says incidents like this are rare but there are ways to distinguish a police impersonator.

"As a rule of thumb, there's a very slim chance that an unmarked squad car will ever pull somebody over for a traffic stop," said Dorow.

Dorow says in the slim chance this does happen, a driver should scan the officer's uniform and look for a badge. They should be able to show you an I.D. that matches their badge number.

He says a civilian has the right to request an I.D. and the right to call authorities to report suspicion of a possible impersonator.impersonating-officer

"Most departments have a protocol of some kind that when some type of police interaction is going to take place they will have a marked vehicle make initial contact. That's also for officers' safety as well," Dorow.

Meanwhile, residents like Cheeks hope this was an isolated incident.

"Impersonating is not a joke, especially an authority like that," said Cheeks.

We're told the case will be presented to the Milwaukee County District Attorney in the coming days.


  • Jim

    “There is a very slim chance that an unmarked squad will pull someone over for a traffic stop…” thats the biggest pile of baloney I’ve heared this year hat wasn’t from politicians. Apparently Brian dorrow wants to pay me back for my last Speeding ticket with his false logic.

  • Nate Jr

    Hey mayor mccheese and common council members is this the type of person you are going to recruit with your new initiative to hire more officers who better represent the city??

  • Popcorn

    In Milwaukee, traffic enforcement is OFTEN done using unmarked squads – don’t rely on the “expert” advice. Police impersonators are rare. IF you have concerns about the validity of an unmarked Police car trying to pull you over, turn your flashers on and slowly continue to drive to the nearest populated area (e.g. residential neighborhood, mall parking lot), or Police station, if nearby, to stop. Reaching for your phone and calling the Police to verify while you are driving is not the best idea, as it could impair your driving (as you’re already nervous) and it could appear like you’re reaching for a weapon. If the Officer is not in uniform, keep your doors locked, don’t roll your window more than a few inches, then ask to see a badge or ID. Also, Milwaukee Police Officers do NOT have their badge numbers on their IDs, so don’t expect to be able to verify that, as the “expert” advises.

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