Action News 5 has covered several cases of predators pretending to be cops.
The arrest of Bishop Tatum Feb. 11 in Frayser at the Treasure Park Apartments was a real eye-opener. Tatum's vehicle looked like an undercover officer's car, complete with blue light and even a prisoner cage. His intentions unknown, he was charged with impersonating a Memphis police officer.
Quite frankly, Tatum's story scared "Becki" of Olive Branch, MS. She e-mailed:
"I have heard that by law, women are not required to stop (if they're being pulled over) until they are in a well-lit, public area. Is this true?"
Becki, that's partially true. You are required to stop, but you may -- you SHOULD -- continue driving until you get to a public area that is bustling with people.
Steve Shular, spokesperson for the Shelby County sheriff's office, recommends that if an unidentified vehicle is using a light to pull you over, first check the color of the light. If it's any color other than blue, it has no authority to pull you over. Red lights are on emergency vehicles only. You should pull over to get out of their way, but an emergency vehicle like an ambulance or fire engine shouldn't be trying to pull you over for questioning or apprehension.
If it's a blue light, and you're out in the middle of nowhere, turn your hazards on and proceed at normal speed. If you're close to a fire station or police station, head there. If not, head for the nearest gas station or convenience store that is OPEN and BUSY.
You have the right to ask the officer for identification other than his/her badge. Badges can be faked, and there are as many badges as there are police agencies. Request the officer's card credentials if you're not convinced.
You also have the right to request the officer's supervisor. Shular says protocol dictates if a motorist requests a supervising officer, that officer should be contacted and come to the scene if warranted.