Phony Traffic Stop Protection - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/5/05-East Texas

Phony Traffic Stop Protection

A few days ago, a gambler left a Shreveport casino with $2,500 in his pocket.

"Somebody had seen that he had won this amount of money and had followed him," says DPS Trooper, Jean Steely.

After crossing back into Texas, the gambler noticed the car behind flashing its high beams. He pulled over and was robbed at gunpoint by someone impersonating an officer.

Only hours after hitting the road, he lost all his money. Trooper Steely says even though phony traffic stops like this are rare, everyone should be prepared.

"Anytime you're carrying around that much money and somebody sees it, you need to know you're a potential target," says Trooper Steely.

This advice goes for everyone. Not just those carrying a lot of cash. There are ways to tell the difference from between a real Peace Officer, and a fake one.

"As far as stopping on the interstate goes, all of our troopers will have emergency lights on their grill or on their car," says Trooper Steely.

They will also have a badge and identification with them. However, sometimes its an unmarked vehicle that wants you to pull over. Trooper Steely says in this case, keep driving.

"Slow and at the next exit, exit to a gas station or something where you can properly identify who it is trying to get your attention," says Trooper Steely

You can also protect yourself by asking yourself some questions before you hit the road.

"Ask yourself, are you going back to your room, are you leaving? Where have you been that day?"

And be sure to watch the rear view mirror as the officer comes to your car. Steely says they are almost always in uniform.

"If there's some doubt as to who it is, that police officer is not going to be offended if you slow down and try to get to some safe area where you feel comfortable," says Trooper Steely

In the end, Troopers say they want you to be safe on the road. DPS Officials say unless it's an emergency, like drunk or reckless drivers, officers will be driving in cars with red and blue emergency lights and be in uniform.

Impersonating a Peace Officer is a 3rd degree felony.

Reporting: Braid Sharp bsharp@kltv.com

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