Thursday, December 28, 2006

Everyone Wants To Wear The Uniform...

A tip of the hat to Deputy Jason Barnes of the Madison County Sheriff's Department for this news item.

The link is to a recent AOL Autos article that points to the fact that a lot of people are now driving surplus Crown Vics, flashing badges and doing other such activities in an effort to shake people down. In particular, the article states that unescorted women ought to be more than ordinarily suspicions of such gambits.

I remember having an experience of this kind myself back in the day. When I got over my initial panic and thought "Real Metuchen police don't drive rusty Chevy Impalas and have badges that say 'security officer" I treated the guy to the Hawaiian Good Luck salute and some choice words and went on my way. If there'd been cell phones back then, the guy would have had a lot more trouble.

The suggestion is made that if you are suspicious of such a move that you should stop only when you reach a well lighted public place, or that one can merely open the window enough to furnish the requested identification. If the circumstances seem more than ordinarily suspicious, the motorist is advised to tell the 'officer' that you will follow them to the nearest police station, or that you should ask to have another officer come to the scene.

This could be particularly problematic in rural Iowa, as distances between towns are long and many areas are isolated or remote.

One may differ with some of the advice given in the article (as a charge of interference with official acts or eluding is a most serious matter), the best advice is still to pick up that cell phone and call 911 if there's any doubt at all.


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