A Costume and Badge Don’t Guarantee Authenticity

When people see a man dressed in a state issued custom that includes a shiny metal badge they have a tendency to trust that person. This is not a smart strategy if one wants to guarantee their safety. Putting aside the danger police officers hold, let’s consider the danger posed by people who impersonate police officers. By impersonating a police officer an individual can gain a level of authority over others that they generally wouldn’t have. That means they can more easily perform wicked acts such as rape:

A man posing as a police officer is believed to have kidnapped and sexually assaulted a Minneapolis woman Saturday in Fridley before doing the same to a second woman hours later near the University of Minnesota, an Anoka County sheriff’s official said Monday. Rarely do suspects in violent crimes impersonate police officers, say Minneapolis police and Anoka County authorities, who have been conferring over the cases.

The suspect in the Fridley rape, which occurred near City Hall at 1 p.m. Saturday, told the victim that he was a detective before kidnapping her, said Anoka County Sheriff’s Commander Paul Sommer. Early Sunday morning, a man fitting a similar description and wearing a badge approached a woman near the U. In both cases, the suspect’s small, dark-colored SUV was described as having a squad-like computer dashboard, Minneapolis police and Anoka County authorities said.

“There’s a pattern here,” said Sommer. “Basically, his modus operandi was the same. He approaches a victim, identifies himself as a police officer, kidnaps them, sexually assaults them and releases them.”

In Minnesota we are not required to inform a police officer that we’re carrying a firearm unless directly asked. There is a lot of debate surrounding whether or not one should inform an officer immediately or wait until he or she asks. I’m a firm believer that one should not volunteer such information because the police officer may not be an actual police officer. If you volunteer such information up front you may find yourself disarmed while facing a police impersonator who means you harm. Anybody can get a hold of a police costume and badge so those objects don’t guarantee authenticity.

On a side note I must also point out the brilliance of impersonating a police officer while committing crimes. What better way to blend in with a crowd a criminals than to dress as a criminal in the largest violent gang in the area?