How to keep yourself safe from police officer impersonators - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

How to keep yourself safe from police officer impersonators

PALMER, MA (WSHM) -

You're driving down a remote section of road, alone, late at night, when out of nowhere an unmarked cruiser is signaling for you to pull over.

"They're rare but it certainly puts fear into people because you're alone and you're vulnerable," said Palmer police Chief Robert Frydryk.

Police impersonators are a frightening reality. Just last weekend, a Wareham woman was driving at night when a man claiming to be a police officer pulled her over. When she became suspicious and began to roll up her window, he hit her in the face with a flashlight.

She was fortunate to get away.

CBS 3 caught up with Chief Frydryk on what you can do to keep yourself safe.

"You're a woman traveling and night and you're a little suspicious about the car that was behind you, you weren't comfortable pulling over, I don't think it's unreasonable for you to take some precautions," he said.

Frydryk advises putting your flashers and interior lights on, slowing down and stopping in a well lit and populated area.

"Most police officers would find that those actions are reasonable and that's really what we're talking about," he said.

If you are being pulled over by an unmarked cruiser, most have identifiable setups.

"Most police departments just overload their vehicles with lights," Frydryk said.

Even an unmarked has plenty of flashing lights, bumper gear in front and a blue police license plate.

If you do feel suspicious, Massachusetts is the first state to get uniform ID cards for every single police officer.  

And badges are all unique, so look for ID numbers, the name of the town and the state seal.

You can always call 911 to ask a dispatcher whether the officer pulling you over actually works for the police department.

Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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