Man poses as officer in Clinton, could be armed

CLINTON (WKOW) -- Police in Clinton are working with several other agencies to figure out who is posing as an officer in multiple communities.

Police say a teenager reported an unidentified man pulled him over on Highway X in Clinton Tuesday afternoon. He was headed west on X when a blue, Crown Victoria pulled out behind him from Scot Drive. Crown Victorias were a popular cop car, but are no longer in most departments' fleets as they've moved on to newer vehicles like Ford Explorers and Dodge Chargers.

The suspect had flashing red and blue lights on his vehicle and when he got out of the car, the teenager said it looked like he had a gun on his hip. He was wearing a blue, police-style uniform and a navy blue baseball cap. He yelled at the teenager for going too slow and let him go, according to police. Police called around to local agencies and discovered it was none of the officers working in the area.

After this incident, Chief Dave Hooker says you shouldn't pull over for an unmarked car unless you're certain it's an officer.

"We're not recommending stopping, unless it's someplace where there are a lot of people around -- if you're driving and you come upon a gas station with a lot of people we're okay -- but we would not recommend you stopping out in the middle of nowhere until you're sure you're dealing with an actual police officer," Hooker told 27 News.

The chief says since sharing the incident report, he's learned at least four other agencies are investigating similar incidents, in Dane County, Lake Geneva, Delavan, and Roscoe, Illinois.

The incident is concerning for Clinton parents like Angie Splan.

"It's kind of scary that you know, it's happening in our little, small town," Splan said. "I don't know why someone wold come in and do something like that."

Splan says in a small town, people usually get to know their officers, so she hopes the community will keep an eye out for anything unusual.

All Clinton police vehicles are marked, but larger agencies have detectives or other officers working in unmarked cars. Most police vehicles have special plates with a police badge logo or star on them. Any legitimate officer should be carrying a badge and ID card, according to Chief Hooker, so you should ask to see it if you're worried. 

If you suspect someone pulling you over is not an officer, you should call 911 and a dispatcher can verify whether a real officer is at your location. 

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