Fake police sighting in Vernon prompts investigation, warning

FILE. Police lights. RCMP

Vernon Mounties are taking a serious approach to reports of a fake police cruiser taking to the streets, and are “conducting a full investigation into the circumstances.”

A motorist told RCMP she saw a slow-moving pickup truck traveling northbound in the slow lane of Highway 97, near Bailey Road, at around a.m. April 13.

“As the motorist passed the truck, she saw what appeared to be red and blue flashing lights activated,” RCMP said. “Shortly after activating the lights, the vehicle turned east off Highway 97 toward Predator Ridge onto Bailey Road. The vehicle was described as a newer model, white, Dodge Ram pickup truck with a canopy and red and blue dome lights on the roof of the driver side.”

Read more: ‘Highly disturbing’: Fake cops suspected in deadly home invasion and East Van carjacking

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If they have reason to believe they are being stopped by a non-legitimate police vehicle, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP recommends that people slow down, and drive to the nearest well-lit, populated area.

“If this is not possible, lock all doors, pull over safely and leave your vehicle running,” Const. Chris Terleski said. “If you have a cellular phone, take it out immediately, hold it in full view of the person who has pulled you over and call 911. Calmly give the 911 operator your location and express your concern.”

Questions that should be asked include, whether the dispatcher has had any communication with a police officer about a traffic stop in your area.

“Ask 911 to relay your concerns to that law enforcement officer,” Terleski said. “Tell the officer, through a cracked window and locked door that you plan to cooperate, but you have heard about police impersonators. Indicate that you are concerned for your safety and that you are verifying the police contact through dispatch.”

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If uncertainty remains about whether it is indeed a real police officer, the recommendation is to ask him/her if you can proceed to a more populated area. If he/she agrees, tell the 911 dispatch where you are heading to and proceed.

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Read more: ‘Highly disturbing’: Fake cops suspected in deadly home invasion and East Van carjacking

“A person found committing an offense could face a number of charges under the BC Motor Vehicle Act and potentially charges under the Criminal Code for personating a Peace Officer,” Terleski said.

There were several reports of fake RCMP in the Okanagan last year. Of note, one man was arrested in May 2021 when he was seen pulling people over near Drought Road, on Highway 97, in Peachland. That person had strobe lights on the dash, similar to police.

The incident remains under investigation and police are asking anyone who may have information related to the incident to contact the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP at 250-545-7171 and quote police file #2022-5785.

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