CAUTION for ALL drivers. Please see the information I received this morning from a concerned parent. We have had a couple of incidents in our county and adjoining counties of people being pulled over by those impersonating a law enforcement officer. See the information below and heed her information and the following advice.

"Parents of all young drivers especially and info for the public: Last night around 8:30 pm a car with three blue lights pulled over a friend's son. He stopped and noticed that when the "officer" got out of his car he turned the blue lights off and walked toward his vehicle. The son realized, thank God, this wasn't legit and drove away. The car followed him for 10 miles and then the son lost him on curvy roads. When he got home his parents confirmed with the Sheriff's Dept. that this was not a legitimate traffic stop. This is super scary and disturbing! I called Sheriff Dryden and here is what he said for us all to know. First of all, he said there will always be a red AND blue light on emergency vehicles. Second, if you get pulled over and you're not sure, roll down your window a little and ask to see the officer's ID-they will show you. Importantly, if you feel something is not right, drive to the nearest lighted service station. (Obviously, if you really do have an officer behind you, drive the speed limit and not erratically). The offenders will not want to be seen and will escape. Next, if you haven't already done so, call 911! If you can get a vehicle description do so. Also, never drive to your home if someone is following you! Go to a lighted area with people around. Sheriff Dryden said this is the second incident he knows of in the last few months. If you see anything suspicious, contact them! Please share and keep your teen drivers and anyone vulnerable safe!"

If you are stopped by what appears to be a law enforcement vehicle, especially at night, and you are not sure it is a real cop, here are some suggestions:

First, a real cop in WI will have red and blue lights, this young man was stopped by a vehicle with blue lights only. Fire and Ambulance have RED only and sometimes white lights mixed in as well. Real WI cops will NOT turn off his/her emergency lights as they approach your vehicle.

If you are feeling uneasy about the stop, roll down your window just a bit and ask for ID. If you are not comfortable doing this, drive away and maintain the speed limit and DO NOT GO TO YOUR HOME, drive to the nearest police station, 24-hour gas station etc., if not real cops they will not follow you into the station.

CALL 911 ASAP. We need to catch these criminals. They are looking for trusting easy targets and we suspect they are looking for women. A real law enforcement officer in an unmarked or marked squad, in uniform or plain clothes, will follow you to your destination and will understand why once you explain the issue. However, drive the speed limit and drive sensibly. Use your sixth sense and your common sense. Be safe.

- Per Washburn County Sheriff Dryden


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