With the summer months approaching there will be more law enforcement patrols on area roadways. Recent reports of a man impersonating a police officer and attempting to force a woman out of her car has not only Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s but also Erie County Sheriff’s offering a warning to motorists regarding unmarked police vehicles.
Earlier this month on June 9th a man represented himself as a police officer in the town of Cold Spring, a small town in Cattaraugus County. The man was described by the victim as a white man in his 40’s about 5’10” with a smooth complexion and clean cut appearance, having blue/green eyes and a medium build, wearing a light blue uniform type shirt with dark colored uniform pants and a Stetson hat. He drove a large dark colored sedan with a flashing blue emergency light in the windshield.
The man ordered the woman from her car and when she refused he grabbed her by the wrist and tried to pull her out. The victim fought back and was able to flee from the scene. Police are urging citizens to use caution and common sense when pulled over by and unmarked police vehicle.
There was another incident in Southern Erie County which has Erie County Officers offering this advice.
“As far as forward facing emergency lights, in order to initiate a traffic stop or expect a person to pull over and stop, it’s the displaying of a red light that’s necessary,” noted Erie County Sheriffs Department Captain Sean Simet.
Simet also noted that amber lights are for construction equipment and tow trucks, and that blue lights are issued to members of volunteer fire companies in order to help them get to emergency scenes quickly.
But he says that while motorists should yield to blue light bearing vehicles and allow them to pass, the operators of those vehicles have no authority to pull someone over.
Captain Simet also notes that motorists are well within their rights to proceed to an area they feel safe. In some parts of WNY the roadways are heavy with vegetation and not heavily populated or well-traveled; if you are uncomfortable Captain Simet offers this simple advice:
“A very easy thing to do, if you are not comfortable stopping in a particular place, is to slow down, wave to the police officer to acknowledge to them that you are aware of their presence, put on your emergency four way flashers, and then proceed to the closest well lit or public area where you are comfortable in stopping.”
Another easy thing to do is look carefully when the officer gets out of his car, while many area agencies do not use unmarked cars for their traffic patrols, it can happen. When it does even if the car is unmarked the officer will still be in full uniform. See the video on the left to see WGRZ:Channel 2’s interview with Captain Simet.
A police sketch of the suspect has been released today by the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s department they are asking that anyone with information about the man in the photo or the vehicle to contact the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Department at 938-9191.
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