On May 31st, 2013

Traffic Stop: Real Or Fake Cop Pulling You Over? CHP Public Safety Dispatchers Can Help

A woman in Riverside County is thankful she trusted her gut instincts and called 911.   A man in an unmarked car with flashing lights tried to get her to pull over as she drove on Interstate 10 on May 22.   She felt uneasy, picked up her phone, took some pictures and called a CHP Public Safety Dispatcher.

"Yes, call 911," said Tina Brazil, CHP dispatcher and president of the CHP Public Safety Dispatchers Association.  "Tell us where you are, what vehicle you are in, what the vehicle attempting to pull you over looks like and why you feel unsafe."

The woman in Riverside County reported the vehicle behind her had flashing lights on the dash and a sticker on the back that looked like a law enforcement badge.  When the man attempting to pull her over discovered she was on the phone, he left the freeway.  The dispatcher sent an officer to meet the woman and based on the license plate information she provided, the officer confirmed the car with the flashing light did not belong to law enforcement.

The law requires that a driver pull over in a timely manner but unmarked law enforcement cars can cause some drivers to become concerned for their safety.

"Don't hesitate to call 911 if you have any question about who is pulling you over,"  said Brazil.  "CHP dispatchers are in constant contact with CHP officers and we can also call other local law enforcement agencies if the CHP is not involved, all the while, keeping the caller on the line."

The same applies should a driver feel as though he or she is being followed.  CHP dispatchers will stay on the line, advise the driver to go to a busy, well-lit establishment and have an officer respond.

"Don't ever hesitate to call 911 in those situations," said Brazil.  "If someone truly is concerned about their safety,  they should call 911."

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