Several police impersonators in Colorado have been stopping drivers and questioning them about why they are out despite the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order. In these seemingly unrelated incidents, they were driving what looked to be unmarked cars, some with dashboard-mounted lights.
In Greeley, impersonators pulled drivers over through a “funnel type road block,” the Greeley Police Department warned on Facebook. They had unmarked vehicles with dashboard-mounted red and blue lights and wore black uniforms with no markings or badge and duty belts with not much equipment.
Greeley PD confirmed that its officers, Weld Sheriff deputies, and Colorado State Troopers did not conduct these traffic stops.
On March 25 in Aurora, a man driving a dark blue or black Ford Crown Victoria equipped with red and blue emergency lights stopped a woman driving around midnight. He was wearing a dark blue pressed uniform and asked why she was out during the stay-at-home order. His uniform did not have a patch, badge, or nametag, and after a brief conversation, he told her she could leave.
The Aurora PD determined that neither an Aurora nor Denver police officer conducted a traffic stop in this area during this time, according to a release posted on Facebook.
In Fort Collins, a man in an unmarked white pickup truck with red and blue lights on the windshield pulled over a female driver the morning of March 26. He was wearing a dark blue police uniform and police baseball cap, according to a city release. He was also performing a “stay-home compliance check.”
“While we are still enforcing traffic laws, Fort Collins Police officers are not conducting traffic stops solely related to COVID-19 orders,” said Assistant Chief John Feyen, who leads the Patrol division, in the release. “Unfortunately, criminals around the country are using COVID-19 concerns to their advantage in many ways. We will hold these people accountable for their illegal activities and encourage our community members to report any suspicious behaviors.”
On March 27, a possible police impersonator stopped a female driver on her way to work in Erie. He was driving a black vehicle with flashing emergency lights, according to a release from the Town of Erie Police Department. He advised her she was being stopped for a headlight violation, told her to return home due to the state’s stay-at-home order, then followed her to her nearby residence before leaving.
Drivers who think they may be stopped by an impersonator are advised to call 911 to determine if the person is actually an officer; turn on their hazard lights; stop in a well-lit, public area; and ask to see a badge or identification.