Troopers caution drivers after report of police impersonator

State police say a woman did the right thing Thursday by notifying troopers when she felt something wasn't right about a man who pulled her over and claimed to be a police officer.

According to police, the man motioned the woman to pull over near the Wertzville Road Exit of Interstate 81. She said the man was driving a four-door Ford Taurus and was wearing a dark blue shirt with a patch on it.

Police said the man approached the woman and asked for her driver's license. He told her she was driving erratically and told her she needed to “wake up.” He then gave back her license and drove away.

Troopers said police impersonators can be pretty convincing, especially with the help of technology.  Smart phone apps that simulate flashing red and blue lights can look almost identical to actual police lights.

State police spokeswoman Trooper Michele Davis said such apps are making it more difficult for people to distinguish between impersonators and real police.

“It is something we didn't see ten years ago,” she said, “People are taking more risks.”

Davis said suspicious drivers should call 911. Dispatchers will be able to verify if an officer is at their location.

“If you explain to the officer, 'I wasn't sure whether or not you were a police officer, I was concerned for my safety' they aren't going to ever hold that against you,” she said.

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