Local police chief says how to deal with fake cops - WNEM TV 5

Local police chief says how to deal with fake cops

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A local teenager is behind bars and is accused of impersonating a state trooper.

He went into the lobby of a motel where he claimed to be responding to a call.

"The whole situation was fishy, but at first we both thought he was a real officer," said Kevin Schmidt, manager of the Budget Inn in Bay City.

Schmidt said when the 17-year-old walked into his motel disguised as a Michigan State police officer he was convinced he was the real deal. 

A surveillance video from Saturday night shows the teen telling the managers he's with the state police and has been called to check on a fight in one of the motel rooms.

"I flagged an officer down and let him know what happened because things weren't adding up by him talking on his radio and no one was responding back. He didn't have an earpiece or anything like that," Schmidt said.

With the help of tips from the public, police found and arrested the Bay County teen on Monday. He's been charged with impersonating an officer.

"It could look pretty realistic. People can buy a lot of stuff off of eBay and Craigslist now so you have to be aware there is a possibility it could happen. It's rare, but in this case it did happen," Bay City Police Chief Michael Cecchini said.

He said if a resident is approached by someone identifying themselves as a police officer,  but has doubts, they should ask to see a certified ID.

"They need to ask to see their credentials. All law enforcement officers should be issued a flat badge with commission card with their credentials with their name and identifying characteristics signed by the agency head," Cecchini said.

If someone is still unsure they should call 911 to verify he or she is the real deal before providing the person with special access.  

"Call 911. Say you want to see a supervisor because something doesn't seem right with this situation," Cecchini said.

Police are not releasing the teen's name until he is arraigned. That's expected to happen on Tuesday. 

False representation of a police officer is a misdemeanor. It's punishable by up to one year in jail.

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