Unmarked Police Vehicles Raise Safety Concerns

Police say to call 911 if people suspect police impersonator is conducting traffic stop

Some North Texas residents say the use of unmarked police vehicles could make it difficult to tell the difference between legitimate officers and police impersonators.

"There are people out there that want to impersonate police officers," said Plano Officer Andrae Smith, who has patrolled in an unmarked car for years.

Hurst police said an imposter pulled over a teacher in mid-April.

"My concern, being a woman, is that this is an imposter and that they were trying to attack me," said Erin Reilly, of Plano.

Debbie Sanchez, of Allen, said she would be worried if she saw an unmarked car in her rearview mirror.

Smith said the Plano Police Department operates eight to 10 unmarked police cars.

He said the vehicles can be a useful tool during criminal pursuits and crime scene investigations, as well as catching dangerous behavior on the roads.

"They won’t do it in front of a marked police car," he said, talking about road rage or speeding. "They may do it in front of [the unmarked] car."

Smith said the Plano Police Department reviews its procedures when incidents happen in other cities, such as the one in Hurst.

Unmarked vehicles are here to stay, but people should pull into a well-lit shopping center or gas station and call 911 to verify an officer's badge number and location if they feel they are being pulled over by someone other than a law enforcement officer.

"That gives motorists the peace of mind to know that they’re not being pulled over by some impersonator," he said.

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