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  • Charger
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr.Security
    Driving a Crown-Vic police look-alike vehicle could be hazardous to your health. Ambushes on the police seem to be on the increase. As noted above, the public are not very discriminating about deciding what is or isn't a police vehicle. What if a deranged individual decides that you are the "police" and you end up being the target? Not likely? I doubt if the police officers who were ambushed recently started their shift worried about being ambushed. But it can and did happen. Just something to consider before driving a POV that looks like a police car.
    Brings to mind an incident a few years ago while I was working patrol...

    I had just started my shift, finished briefing, and had hit the road. About 5 miles from the office, I had pulled off the highway to make my first patrol hit.. As I'm going over the freeway overpass, this little purple nissan comes FLYING up behind me, swings into the left lane, and suddenly swerves towards me trying to run me off the bridge! Fortunately I was able to swerve up onto the sidewalk and stay away from the rail, and he took off down the road. A few seconds later, half a dozen units go flying by in pursuit.

    That company uses Impalas, rather than CVPIs, but apparently he thought I was just another cop waiting to take him out. At first I thought it was odd, because none of the departments in that area use any Impalas, (or at least, didn't at the time), but in the heat of the moment he probably saw the stripes/lettering and the spotlight, and just assumed.

    Oh, and what did I get from my supe. later on? "Well, good job on not getting hit!" LOL...

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  • Tennsix
    replied
    Originally posted by Bill Warnock
    TENNSIX:
    In some state codes there are contraband and prohibited items. I know that contraband means those things that are unlawful for you to possess at any time for any reason. This is like radar detectors in my state, Commonwealth of Virginia there use is illegal, considered contraband and subject to confiscation. Turn them off and put them in the trunk.
    Prohibited items are in a murky legal area, and as you have written, subject to prosecutorial review.
    Courthouses have policies involving prohibited items.
    Enjoy the day,
    Bill
    Considering all the impersonation incidents we hear about, I think such a statute is appropriate.

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  • Bill Warnock
    replied
    Originally posted by Tennsix
    Possessing prohibited lights and siren is not a crime, per se. Some would argue that this topic is subject to prosecutorial review. It would most definitely be traffic or equipment violation but turning on the lights and/or siren is arguably a false representation of official authority.

    Depending on the circumstances, simply displaying red/blue lights could be argued as impersonation. For example: A pervert trolling a park in an “unmarked” car with non illuminated red/blue lights, spot light, push bar, antennas with perceptible intent to attract unsuspecting children.

    The suspect never vocally identified himself as a police officer, his vehicle is not marked as a police car, nor are the lights turned on. Most people would agree such a person was intentionally misleading people to think he was a cop.
    TENNSIX:
    In some state codes there are contraband and prohibited items. I know that contraband means those things that are unlawful for you to possess at any time for any reason. This is like radar detectors in my state, Commonwealth of Virginia there use is illegal, considered contraband and subject to confiscation. Turn them off and put them in the trunk.
    Prohibited items are in a murky legal area, and as you have written, subject to prosecutorial review.
    Courthouses have policies involving prohibited items.
    Enjoy the day,
    Bill

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  • Tennsix
    replied
    Possessing prohibited lights and siren is not a crime, per se. Some would argue that this topic is subject to prosecutorial review. It would most definitely be traffic or equipment violation but turning on the lights and/or siren is arguably a false representation of official authority.

    Depending on the circumstances, simply displaying red/blue lights could be argued as impersonation. For example: A pervert trolling a park in an “unmarked” car with non illuminated red/blue lights, spot light, push bar, antennas with perceptible intent to attract unsuspecting children.

    The suspect never vocally identified himself as a police officer, his vehicle is not marked as a police car, nor are the lights turned on. Most people would agree such a person was intentionally misleading people to think he was a cop.

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  • Michael Ledgerwood
    replied
    I will probably make this my final post on this topic as it keeps going in circles and is way off topic anyways. I whole hartedly agree with the fact its stupid to outfit your pov with lights sirens etc. Here in WA amber or amber white can be used for security. A few run green or red lights though with permission from LE. My point is this, by itself posessing red/blues, sirens, etc. does not constitute impersonation. Now in reality will you get in trouble, most likely. It is a traffic VIOLATION to posses improper colored lights in this state. It is a CRIMINAL violation to use improper colored lights or equipment to represent yourself as a public servant. You may have anything you want on private property in this state. Bottom line is this. You need intent to impersonate an officer. Is it stupid to buy the equipment for your POV, yes. And even if it isn't a criminal act, doesn't mean the police won't have a chat with you.

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  • N. A. Corbier
    replied
    See, these are the guys who scare me. And what's worse, is that the "average street cop's" take is that nobody associated with security (cause we all know Tennsix's guy was a guard, he had to be) should have anything to do with police vehicles.

    If I have a CVPI with all the bells and whistles, and it has lettering and graphics on the side that identify it down to agency, there is not a problem there unless your unable or unwilling to read. Period.

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  • Tennsix
    replied
    There was a a guy in our area that was like that. He worked as a reserve for a neighboring PD and applied to our PD. He worked a maintenance job in our jurisdiction. He would often take his meal breaks with us and talk shop. He drove a nice (real nice) unmarked CVPI with all the trimmings. He told us it was his take-home car.

    One night, the repo man showed up at our PD. He was looking for this guy’s car. He had only made one payment in three years. We found his car “hidden” in a parking garage but we could not find him.

    We took all of the police and emergency equipment before the car was taken. He has several pair of cuffs, police ID, two badges, two hand guns, red/blue lights, siren, two-way radio, and a lot of other stuff. Because we could not locate him, we called his PD to turn over the equipment. He chief told us he had only worked one shift in two years. They officially “fired” (reserve officer are volunteer) him several months before but they could not get their badge and ID back. He purchased everything aside from the ID and the one badge. That was two years ago and we still have his stuff.

    Oh... some of the equipment, including all four tires, was pilfered from the PD’s inventory.
    Last edited by Tennsix; 05-17-2006, 10:32 AM.

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  • 1stWatch
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr. Security
    Driving a Crown-Vic police look-alike vehicle could be hazardous to your health. Ambushes on the police seem to be on the increase. As noted above, the public are not very discriminating about deciding what is or isn't a police vehicle. What if a deranged individual decides that you are the "police" and you end up being the target? Not likely? I doubt if the police officers who were ambushed recently started their shift worried about being ambushed. But it can and did happen. Just something to consider before driving a POV that looks like a police car.
    In my area ambushes on security are a lot more common. Having a police style uniform and driving a Crown Victoria has kept me out of trouble in this city since it adds to command presence. Hateful subjects are a lot more likely to attack a security guard here since they know they are more likely to be able to get away with it. I have seen more attacks on unarmed security guards working in an outdoor environment who were wearing light blue or white uniform shirts than on those who carried weapons, wore dark blue or black uniforms, or had a muscular build that deterred trouble by its appearance.

    The problem I see with individuals who have a Crown Victoria as a personal vehicle is with the intent they may have while driving around in it. I can think of at least three individuals who saved up and bought a brand new c.v. and outfitted the thing with fancy l.e.d. lights, a prisoner cage, a fully functional siren, and other equipment that costed several thousand dollars because they thought it "looked cool".

    One of those guys wanted to be a cop way too bad, as in he probably had a stone idol of a policeman in his room he bowed down to. This guy ended up getting fired after using his car while on duty to follow and watch the police. Then there was another one who was doing drugs on duty. He would pose as property security where a drug house was and pretend he was shaking down drug dealers when he was actually buying drugs and transporting them for the dealers. He was fired after he failed a urinalysis test. The third one, my favorite, was busted for committing an armed robbery off-duty with his weapon while doing -guess what- a traffic stop on somebody. These are the kind of individuals who should not have any of that equipment that is identical to law enforcement.

    Now on the other hand, I do see people who buy c.v.'s used from an auction or a dealer that reconditions used police car engines and resells them and some of those cars still have leftover equipment on them, usually an a-frame spotlight still mounted on the door. People should be conscientious enough to remove things like red and blue flashers and the siren bell from them though. If not illegal altogether, some of those things will at least make those individuals who write tickets for a living give the driver long hard looks for months at a time.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tennsix
    replied
    In Indiana, red lights are the color of authority; blue lights have no official standing. Volunteer fire run blue lights (no siren) but other cars do not have to yield to them. Green lights (and siren) are reserved for off-duty and volunteer EMS. The state recognizes green lights as “private emergency vehicles” and they may operate on public roads. Only emergency vehicles may display a flashing white light.

    Indiana goes on to say an emergency vehicle or a private emergency vehicle (green lights) only has to run red lights or siren but not both.

    No unauthorized vehicles may run red, green, white lights and/or siren on public or private property.

    Indiana law enforcement runs red and blue lights. Theoretically, traffic is not required to yield to a police car running blue lights only (no siren). However, traffic does have to yield to the siren, even without lights.

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  • N. A. Corbier
    replied
    OK, I'm going to address this from the company angle.

    Most states pick one color and outlaw it for anyone except law enforcement. Usually, this is blue. In some east coast states, its actually red. Take the other color, and give that to EMS and Fire Department.

    Most traffic codes make it a criminal (not violation) offense to have a flashing, rotating, or steady blue (or red depending on where you are, but you get the point) lamp on your vehicle. Period. It does not even have to be operable, it just has to be blue.

    This means that if your vehicle isn't licensed, isn't registered, and never leaves your private property - its still a criminal act to be in posession of a vehicle with a blue light in it.

    Now, the other colors are addressed only on public roads. The traffic code specifies that moving and standing violations are only enforcable on public right of ways and roads, yadda yadda yadda.

    Sirens, usually, as well are a moving violation. Blast your siren tones and air horn tone all you want, but not on public property. Now, what is "illegal" about sirens on private property is that they violate the city/county/state noise ordinance. Usually, only authorized emergency vehicles are exempt from the noise ordinance.

    In WI, I can put red lights to the front on every car we have, full sized streethawks or Whelen Edge 12-strobes. Red/White/Green, if I feel like. An employee cannot activate these lights on public roads unless instructed to by a public employee or officer, who can override traffic regulations on his authority as an agent of the state.

    The only color I cannot have is blue. Blue in itself is illegal. Blue, under state law, is specifically reserved for public law enforcement vehicles. This means, that if you have a blue light on your vehicle, you are guilty of a criminal offense. You can also use the reserved status as prima fiscae (someone spell that right) evidence of impersonation, as the reasonable man knows that it is reserved for police only.

    Now, what colors am I probably going to stick on the cars? Either red/white/green, or amber/white/green. Why? It doesn't matter what kind of lights we have, we can't activate them except on our sites, which means that the "amber only" rule is out the window.

    And for those of you wondering, yes, I like Billy Holcomb's idea for amber/green combination in Florida reserved for security.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mr. Security
    replied
    Driving a Crown-Vic police look-alike vehicle could be hazardous to your health. Ambushes on the police seem to be on the increase. As noted above, the public are not very discriminating about deciding what is or isn't a police vehicle. What if a deranged individual decides that you are the "police" and you end up being the target? Not likely? I doubt if the police officers who were ambushed recently started their shift worried about being ambushed. But it can and did happen. Just something to consider before driving a POV that looks like a police car.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tennsix
    replied
    But why would a non-authorized person need to purchase or have these lights in a pov? There aren't any legitimate reasons that I can think of unless you want that "police" look. Basically its back to my closing comment- stringent controls on light purchases and you have no impersonator problems. If you purchase the lights in an improper color you intend to use them for something, and that questionable intent is what would make me suspicious.
    Agreed. Why would a private citizen have lights and siren, if there was no intent. Even if the person says he would never use them sooner or later, he will succumb to temptation and flip the switch.

    Before that happens, the person enjoys the attention he gets when people see the car and misguidedly think it is a police car. After a while, that high wears off and he needs more to get his fix.

    Leave a comment:


  • ycaso77
    replied
    To start, I'm not the great all knowing Oz so I never take it personally if someone disagrees with me. A lawsuit due to a member of the public thinking you were LE is ludicrous, but in our litigation crazed society its a danger worth considering. Flagging down a cruiser is a common enough occurence in my neck of the woods that its taken for granted. I whole heartedly agree with your point that to the general public, one emergency equipped vehicle is as good to complain to as another. Where I work we have several departments within a few square miles- all of whom have almost the same uniforms and graphic designs on thier vehicles. Who is police and who is security leads to endless guessing as to what department was involved when you get the " I told the officer" calls. As to lights, red/blue combos by law here are for LE only- even having them mounted in your car but not operable will draw attention and some pointed questions. If you're allowed to have them, fine. But why would a non-authorized person need to purchase or have these lights in a pov? There aren't any legitimate reasons that I can think of unless you want that "police" look. Basically its back to my closing comment- stringent controls on light purchases and you have no impersonator problems. If you purchase the lights in an improper color you intend to use them for something, and that questionable intent is what would make me suspicious.

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  • Michael Ledgerwood
    replied
    Originally posted by ycaso77
    One flaw with security running the same lights as the PD is the possibility a citizen may flad down a vehicle thinking its a cop for a crime in progress and guess what- its not. Citizen sues, police are unhappy and newspapers have a field day with " fake police" endangering the public. Its happened here and we have the laws to show for it regarding light colors. Impersonation is a serious crime, we had a string of women pulled over by impersonators, impersonators trolling near schools and even rolling up on people. Someone is going to wind up seriously hurt. We even had a state university president pulling over speeders with his badge and a light he purchased for himself. In my opinion lights need stringent controls.
    I'm going to disagree with your statement but please don't take it personally as states have different laws and what not. Getting sued because someone "thought" you were a cop is ludacris. I think here in WA a judge would throw the case right out of court. A cop is sworn to protect and serve. However, it is common sense to call 911 and report the crime. Flagging police down is never a good idea because even in a real cop car there may not be a real cop driving it. I know the pds around here love to have citizen patrols and senior patrols as well as explorers and cadets and they all drive regular police cars. Impersonation is a serious crime but it doesn't have to be if you educate your citizens. I personally could care less what color lights i have. When I worked for my 1st security company i drove a car with a full size amber streethawk. The car was a Ford Tarus and had a simple round decal on the door. Guess what? People still thought i was a cop. When I worked for the PD, I took a complaint that a traffic violation had occured in front of a marked expedition yet the cop did nothin. Come to find out it was a fully marked FIRE DEPT expedition. I had a similar complaint where some one wanted our publics works pickups to do a traffic stop. You aren't guilty of impersonation until you tell someone you are a cop and you have the intent to impersonate a cop. Anyone can buy lights, sirens, cop cars, uniforms, radio, etc. because the police don't have the market. Red/blue lights are NOT police lights. Red/blue lights are simply that, red and blue lights that are most commonly used for police. The only thing that is universally restricted is items directly identifying you as the police. Now some areas may regulate certain items and that is fine. But just being in posession of an item is not impersonation. I drive a marked Impalla with a red lightbar, prisioner cage, siren, spotlight, pushbumpers. I were a "police" uniform, have a badge and a radio. Am I impersonating? NO I am not. Why? because I am not identifying myself as a cop. If people mistake me for the police thats their problem not mine because I am not telling them Im the police. Infact everything we have says security on it. My whole point to this longwided statement is that impersonation is not based on equipment or lights, it is based on intent and the media has helped to blow it out of proportion. I know of several cases where someone was called an impersonator for having improper lights. Guess what, they were only imposed a traffic violation and let go, no intent to impersonate.

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  • Lawson
    replied
    Hiring?

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