Officials advise drivers on safety steps in wake of person impersonating officer

In response to an unknown person impersonating a police officer, law enforcement officers advise motorists to take steps to protect themselves.

A woman from Star City called 911 on Wednesday, June 11, to report she was being followed on Arkansas Highway 530 between Pine Bluff and Star City, Major Lafayette Woods Jr. of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said. This marks the second instance since April in which a person has called police to report a driver of an unmarked car impersonating a law enforcement officer.

The woman reported being followed for seven miles by a dark-colored car containing a blue light on the dashboard, Woods said. The unknown person eventually turned onto an unknown side road, he said.

“Based on the description of the car, we do not believe the person was a law enforcement officer,” Woods said.

In the earlier incident, a woman told Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies she was followed by a light-blue vehicle while traveling south on U.S. Highway 425, and when she crossed into Lincoln County from Jefferson County, the second vehicle turned on a blue light and both vehicles pulled over.

The woman said a man got out of the vehicle and when she noticed he did not appear to be dressed appropriately to be a police officer, the woman sped off and the man got back in his vehicle, turned around and headed north, according to a press release from Lincoln County.

Impersonating an officer is a Class D felony. The law prohibits a civilian from wearing an officer’s uniform and from altering a vehicle to resemble a police vehicle whether marked or unmarked.

“If you are unsure about the identity of someone in an unmarked car, call 911,” Woods said. “Provide a description of an unmarked vehicle. Stay in the car, drive to a well-lit, populated area such as a gas station.”

The Lincoln County press release said Arkansas State Police units patrol highways in the area and use vehicles whose only markings are on the right side of the vehicle. There are no markings on the left side, hood or trunk.

A person impersonating a police officer may be attempting a sexual assault, Woods said. Anyone with information about any suspicious activity may call the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at 870-541-5351 or Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 870-628-4271.