Suspected police impersonator cited after pulling over unmarked police car

By: Mario Boone Email
By: Mario Boone Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- UPDATE: Tennessee outlaws using dashboard strobe lights unless you're cop. Apparently 55-year-old Jack Martin missed the memo. That's because Knoxville police say he tried to pull over a real cop. One of their undercover investigators who was driving an unmarked car. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says fake cops pose a problem for real officers.

"99% of the time it's an officer doing his job," said Sgt. Randall Martin.

It's the one percent who could make you think twice when lights flash in your rearview mirror. So, how do you know when it's a real cop?

"Almost all police have a lightbar on top of them. We do have some that have lightbars in the dash, over the visor, or in the grill," said Martin. And almost always lights are blue, red, or both.

"That should also be accompanied with some type of siren or audible warning sign."

But what happens if you're still not sure the officer behind you is the real deal? Stay calm, note your location, slow down, turn on your hazard lights, and try stopping in a well lit area with people around. Said Martin, "ask for some identification. 'May I see your badge and credentials?'"

Becoming a real cop takes months and months of training. But fake cops can do it by the click of a mouse in mere seconds on websites found all over the internet. Or by visiting your local army surplus store stocked with badges, holsters, police hats, and uniform patches.

THP says look at the officer, check their uniform for a name tag and badge. If something still doesn't sit well, call 911.

Knoxville police want you to hear from you if you experienced a similar encounter. As for the suspect in this case, he faces a July 8th deadline to surrender for booking.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A 55 year-old man was arrested for impersonating a police officer after he allegedly pulled over a Knoxville Police Investigator in an unmarked car.

Jack Leonard Martin was charged with Criminal Officer Impersonation.

Police said Martin was driving a white 1995 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with a white light on the dashboard when he tried stopping the officer shortly after 8:30 a.m. on Monday.

Martin reportedly had two security badges from where he worked when authorities took him into custody.

KPD is asking anyone else who may have been stopped by Martin to contact authorities.

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